De Novo Dahl have been together since 2001. They released a magnificent EP filled with quirky pop gems in 2003. Their concerts are always a blast with the band members often wearing themed outfits and featuring the kind of audience participation that breaks down the barrier between performer and customer. Nashvillians are notorious about not supporting local bands, yet the Cats And Kittens CD release party sold out Nashvilleâ€™s Exit/In. So De Novo Dahl are on to something. Theyâ€™ve captured the zeitgeist of these mixed up times and people are noticing. Theyâ€™re the talk of Nashville, but will it play in Peoria?
The 2003 EP was concise, sharp, and packed with swift jolts of power pop. Cats And Kittens is ambitious and sprawling â€“ a new wave Tusk. Two years have passed and the band has grown self assured, but never smug. This is tender rock, the kind of band your girlfriend listens to that you can like too. Not that the subject matter is about love, I donâ€™t have a clue what many of the songs are about lyrically; Iâ€™m too busy listening to the snap, crackle, and pop of the music.
Musically it is stately, splendid, charming, eccentric, and original. This does not mean that it is sui generis. There are influences aplenty bubbling to the surface of each effervescent song. â€śJeffreyâ€ť might have been the latest college hit for Grandaddy if they had written it. â€śI Woke Up Lateâ€ť is psychedelic new wave rock for video game nerds with a hint of Flaming Lips lurking. David Bowie filtered through Pulp and Blur comes to mind at times â€“ at other points you wonder if admission is charged to the University of Tin Pan Pavement Alley that De Novo Dahl had to have attended at least briefly. Theyâ€™re not as peanut brittle as Franz Ferdinand; theyâ€™re more peanut butter cup like fellow local Nashville new wavers The Features.