Dntel is Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic alias. In most circles, Dntel is best known as the techno part of The Postal Service (to Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard’s Emo part). Early Works for Me If It Works for You II sounds a bit different from The Postal Service, as it is a collection of Dntel’s early instrumental work. As such it's less poppy, with a more ambient sound, less immediate melodies.
That does not make the difference radical. The songs here are also presented in layers. Bursts of drum machines base the songs. Simple, mournful synths drone the songs’ melodies in short stabs. Dissonance builds barely noticeably in the background. Counterpoint melodies sometimes lie on top; sometimes they replace the original melodies. The elements drift in and out. One or two elements remain constant while the others change. There is definite repetition, but the many elements change often enough to keep it interesting for full song lengths.
Disc 1 is Something Always Goes Wrong, Dntel’s original demo tape. He had not yet formed his unique style; there are fewer of his unique song trappings. The majority of tracks on this disc are paint-by-numbers electronica. The album highlight is “S.O.S” a driving song with a distorted drumbeats and hiccupping synths. Not only is it simply a great groove, it hints at the expansion of Dntel’s sound in the future.
Disc 2 is Early Works for Me If It Works For You, Dntel’s first official album. Dntel came more into his own on this album, his signature sound began to appear. That being said, the two highlights on this disc are a bit of anomalies. “Fort Instructions” and “Danny Loves Experimental Electronics” would not feel out of place on a DJ Shadow album with their strong beats, multiple drum tracks, and stopping and starting. These tracks are the closest to hip-hop of Dntel’s work and their energy pops out on the disc.