In Vino Veritas
Right on Dynamite
Release Date: Sep 13, 11
Did you want to be in a band when you were in high school? Probably. Do you remember how indie-grunge-avant-garde-gritty your so-called band would be? Maybe yours wouldn’t have been… but it certainly is a dream many never let go of. Brooklyn-located Right On Dynamite still hold tight in their music to their roots as a trio of high school friends, but unlike most teens, they at least acknowledge the fact that there is still some maturing to get doing. With plenty of self-enamored guitar solos and listen-to-me vocals, the band’s full-length debut In Vino Veritas certainly has aspects of pop. And rock. And indie music. But it’s scattered all over.
Opener “Playing a Part” at first sounds like it could be an extreme noise track or Bibio mutation, but then quickly moves into feeling like an episode of Friends. When the two dissonant vocals of Daniel Murphy paired with Nicholas Cirillo come in I’m surprised – a harmony that at first seems like a stretch to fit against the thick electric guitar reverberations and Jonathan Molina’s rapid drumming, but then clearly complements each part. It’s amateur in the way garage bands of the 90s were amateur. So much room to grow, but for now you’re sold, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Jesus is out. The Beatles haven’t left yet though. Apparently. “What Would Ringo Do” is a quasi-slacker hum that almost feels like it’s being improvised on the spot. And that you can create a never-ending verse for it. A little guitar soloing here, a little psychedelic tambourine there, some “ooo”s for added effect. Not the catchiest or most creative 3:09 on the album.
Taking a cue from beach-party tunes, “No Fights” explores Murphy’s higher range and of course makes quieted room for some more guitar soloing. Tension builds with each chord and suddenly Murphy comes booming back in Girls fashion with eager moody words. And then comes back a second time with an unnecessary reprise of several seconds of the song. After it has already ended.
I always assume that if an album goes by the same name as a track on the same album, that the track will be the best representation of what the artist is trying to accomplish with the album. Is that wrong? I think not. “In Vino Veritas” reverts back to amateur pop, only to take advantage of itself less than a minute in. Sure, lyrics are a little sugary and overtly optimistic, but I’m assuming a definite crowd pleaser for shows.
Being blatant can be very successful. But calling the last song on your album “Big Exciting End” is not. Thankfully, RoD has two songs left afterwards. The track is the most like anything else you may have listened to recently in an indie rock genre. Does that make it successful? Or focused? Or the “best track on the album”? Interpret that yourself. It fits the mold and it fits nicely in sounding like a complete song and not a frazzled experiment in pop.
Jumping into life from the previous noise, closer “All for Naught” takes me by surprise – it sounds confident. It doesn’t sound like Murphy’s playing around on this one. Or any of the three. And for a last track that’s smart. It makes me want to listen again and challenge him – were you really that convinced about the finished state of your other nine tracks?