Ten Words For Snow

Ten Words For Snow
D-na (2005, Contraphonic)

Detroit’s Ten Words For Snow must’ve missed the memo about the city’s raw garage rock boom, because this album is unabashedly pop. Maybe the band was tired of derivative rock and consciously made an album as diverse as possible. They have a knack for finding an off-kilter (but somehow familiar) melody, and the keys perfectly cushion the unbalancing blow, especially on the slower, layered tracks like ‘Shake You Off’. Justin Berger (guitar/vox) and Shannon Hibbard (keys/vox) compliment each other well at every twist and turn, implying the “it” chemistry that critics reserve for “magical” bands like the Pixies. Guitar hooks dig into you, even on ‘Garbage Truck’, where it sounds like the instruments hit a snag in the notes. A lot of what swirls around the speakers are some kind of Nirvana/Kinks amalgamation, and though it frustrates me that I can’t quite decipher what combo of melodies they nicked, I can’t stop listening.

‘Virile Force Majeure’ sounds like old-school Ween, and ‘Brittle Girl’ rocks a tad more, sounding almost like a Queens Of The Stone Age demo. The second half of the album doesn’t slack off either. ‘Beneficial Compost’ is probably Berger’s and Hibbard’s finest duet, and the warp-speed space-age rocker “It Will Hide Your Eyes” gives you another jolt of catchy, synth-laden indie pop.

While there is a lot to like on D-na, its goodness comes in varied pieces. Recommended to those with broad listening palettes.

mp3: Sexy Grunge Story

-Mark Hughson 1/21/06

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