(www.desotojones.com)Desoto Jones – Aurora
(www.deepelm.com) Deep Elm Records
This blend of alternative rock and post-hardcore is a wonderfully accessible album built with an independent spirit and musical training.
I’ve been always been a little hit and miss with Deep Elm releases. While some of my favorite bands have been on DER (The Appleseed Cast, Planes Mistaken for Stars), some bands I have not been too fond of (we won’t mention them). This being said, I was excited and nervous to open the newest release from DER, Desoto Jones’ Aurora. Following my usual routine, I put the album in my computer, sat down and relaxed. I was about five minutes in before I sat up and said “huh?”
I was only a minute into the second track when I wondered if I was still listening to the same band. The opening track “Speedbump” maintains a post-hardcore/alternative rock feeling that I really liked. Suddenly track two (“Don’t Fail Me”) had a more pop-punk feeling that was not present in “Speedbump.” As I listened through the entire album, I found that no two songs maintained a style. The album seemed to experiment with as many different styles as the band could competently play. After my first listen through I honestly had no idea if I liked the album or not, but I was sure that they guys of Desoto Jones knew how to play their instruments.
It actually took me over a dozen listens through the full album before I managed to really form an opinion on the album. The only overriding opinion I managed to form before my 12th exposure was that the songs did not get boring. I was able to listen through the album without skipping tracks and without getting annoyed at any guitar riffs. I was honestly surprised when I realized I was not getting bored with the album.
Finally, I realized that the thing that confused me about Desoto Jones was that they actually managed to produce music that I’ve been wishing someone would produce. They’ve managed to produce high quality music that is capable of appealing to the masses. Desoto Jones took the formula for a good independent album and blended it with Sony records requirements for a radio-friendly single and played it with the heart of true independent musicians.
I can honestly say that this is probably the best signing Deep Elm has made in a long time. The music is accessible yet it isn’t dumbed down. It is truly an excellent blend of the spirit of independent music that encourages bands to experiment with their sound and a sensibility about writing music that people will listen to.