Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dexters Recover Rock, Punk, And Pop

Dexters, a fresh 5-piece from Hoxton, London, have every reason to smile this month. Their 7-inch single debut sold out, their tracks continue to earn airtime, and the experience has laid the right groundwork to follow up with an album this year.

That's not to say everything has been easy. After the band succeeded in seeding the first cut of their video on several dozen review sites, it was taken down for a terms of use violation. It seemed the video editor missed some illicit drug use at the house party where they shot it. All that remains is a black box.

Dexters have since uploaded the Recover video, unwilling to let anything slow down their momentum. After forming the band in 2011, Dexters put out a couple of tracks in the United Kingdom and quickly earned support slots at some of the best indie venues around. In a few short months, some of their songs snuck onto indie track-of-the-day picks. And they have continued to build a following from there.

Recover is the first major release from the Dexters.

The single, Recover, might not even be the best introductory track, but it does capture the feel good rock and roll that the boys from a rougher part of East London want to produce. Inspired by the lyrical prowess of Ray Davies and The Kinks, the band enjoys telling stories, especially those that include heartbreaks and hangovers.

The boys themselves were self-decribed delinquents who even stole a set of master keys from their school's caretaker, who also happened to be singer/songwriter Tom Rowlett's father. Chances are Rowlett's dad laughs about it now. He understands his son's draw to music, given that he too had once played in a blues band and frequently let his son follow him to the pubs.

The rest of the lineup are equally vibrant, including Chris Heggie (guitar), Ben Debo (lead guitar), Vincent Dignan (bass) and Chris Mardon (drums). And that alone might explain the allure of Dexters.

Recover is a straight up feel good rock song, with an upbeat twang and snare. The chorus is a crisply delivered gang chant, carried by the backup vocals as much as Rowlett. It's a breakup song.

While Recover doesn't necessarily stand out as a breakaway song beyond being catchy, the B-side, Conscience Calls, comes much closer with brasher guitars and vocal clarity. The song is also about a breakup, part of their desire to write songs people can relate to, especially anywhere they get a gig. 

Conscience Calls does have a few moments when the instrumental transition doesn't feel right, but it makes up for it with some soaring melodic moments. Rowlett has a knack for rolling out his vocals.

Jamie Ellis (Chapel Club), who has been producing the band's work, also deserves props. Mostly, he adds just enough distort into the mix to make the music interesting without drowning it out. The guitars are the heroes here, laid down over fast tempo percussion. Duncan Mills (The Vaccines, Beastie Boys) mixed it. 

Added up, Dexters aren't necessarily going to change your world, but there is a clear honesty in their approach to music that deserves appreciation, especially because it falls somewhere between rock, punk, and indie pop. It's a crisp, guitar-driven sound that will lift people off their feet.

Recover By Dexters Fires Up 4.5 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Dexters is the kind of band that easily grows on the ears and convinces people that they have a potential to punch through the indie bands in the United Kingdom. Two things they have going for them is their onstage energy and ability to deliver honest lyrics without becoming sappy. Even if the tracks don't sweep you away, expect great things to come.

Recover is currently available on iTunes, along with the B-side, Conscience Calls. Recover is also up at Amazon. In addition to the two tracks out as their debut, the band is also offering the Start To Run demo as a free download from Facebook. Of the three, it might even be my favorite.
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