Facebook [Release date 18.06.19]
When PR guff casually drops “southern rock” into a band’s bio, it usually has the catnip effect; this feverish desire to get under the hood and measure matters up against the greats of the genre. I would venture that “Southern” in this case is more Southampton than Savannah as Lonely Dakota plot their course in a crowded landscape.
Having been through several line-up changes since the band’s embryonic days in 2016, Paul “PJ” Jackson has marshalled his troops for their first full EP – End Of Days.
This 5-track offering indicates Lonely Dakota are still somewhat unsure of their final destination in terms of what their true musical identity is but they have a ticket and are definitely on the right bus going in the right direction. Comparisons will inevitably abound between Shinedown, Alice in Chains and maybe BSC with some clunky-sounding Clutch-like riffage……nothing wrong with aiming to please but if you miss, there’s a danger you’ll sound like Nickelback.
Apparent fan-favorite, “Medication” is a bit like a Motley Crue single had Crue actually been able to play – a toe-tapper for sure and a bit more ‘80s-sounding than the band’s other output. Make no mistake, pop sensibilities are a good spanner to have in the tool bag – who doesn’t love a good hook? But my sense is that Lonely Dakota’s strength is more the dirtier, rumbling-riff intensity of title-track “End of Days” – nice change of pace between the thumping verse and the anthemic chorus. And it comes complete with the obligatory black and white video featuring chained and vulnerable girls, dark and dingy basement maze-corridors, a masked-protagonist, zombies and a guitars-versus-baseball bats duel to the death….we rockers do love a good cliché, eh ?
“Victoria” lyrically nails the poignancy of premature loss and Queen-and-Country bravery – I hate to invoke the N-band again but Nickelback would have so loved to have scribed this belter…imagine them goofing off in the studio when Chris Cornell walks in and gives them a lesson on exactly how to write a heart-rending rock ballad – great four-minute slab of emotion rock, this one. I can see it blowing the windows out of a double-glazed Hampshire pub.
What could be more innocent than hanging around a fairground with a couple of nubile and scantily-clad teenage girls…….simultaneously eating a pickle? That visual accompanies “Overdrive” which throbs and thrusts like…..well, an aroused pickle at a fairground.
Keep your eyes on these guys, they’ve got good chops and show the potential to differentiate themselves from the mob of alt-rock pretenders with their emotive songwriting and full-on, fat-chord assault. Apparently, 20,000 songs get uploaded onto Spotify everyday so how do Lonely Dakota rise above most of that detritus? Given the busy playing field of competition in this genre, it might look like they have more chance of taking a crap in the Queen’s best handbag but persistence, honing those songs and building the fan base…oh yeah and a shit-ton of luck and they’ll be on their way for sure. (Prior single “Dead Stories” is a rollicking listen too).
Good stuff !! ***1/2
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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