Saturday, August 20, 2022

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Sound Check


cd Dylan SiresDylan Sires and Neighbors

“No One”


Waterloo-based Dylan Sires is a great example of unapologetic pop music. It can be difficult working with something so light and seemingly insubstantial, because you run the risk of having the entire thing collapse under weight that the songs aren’t equipped to handle if you get too serious. At its best (like opening track “Royal Queen” or the album-making “Pictures of You”), “No One” has a dreamy, strings- and piano-infused feel, reminiscent of some of The Beatles’ sunnier fair, or, at very least, reminiscent of Panic! At the Disco when it does its Beatles impression. The album throws a couple of different looks at you — “In My Neighborhood” is a surfer-rock tinged number while the title track is a dream-pop ballad — but Sires and his band mates maintain a light touch throughout, and the album succeeds as a result. CV

Dylan Sires and Neighbors play the 80/35 Main Stage on Saturday, July 6.

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa


cd reliant kReliant K

“Collapsible Lung”

Mono Vs. Stereo

Reliant K’s 2009 release “Forget and Not Slow Down” was one of that year’s most overlooked albums. I wish I could review that album instead. It was sublime and brilliantly written and, at times, gut-wrenchingly real. This album is an empty facsimile of that. It appears as if the band emptied the chamber making sure “Forget…” was an amazing piece of work, and haven’t ever been able to reload. The tracks on “Collapsible Lung” sound just fine — by that I mean they’ve got a good producer, and they clearly didn’t record the album on a broken four-track, Silver Jews style — but there’s no message for the pretty sounds to convey. This isn’t even schmaltzy, commercial pop; to say otherwise would actually insult the work of bands like Maroon 5. “Collapsible Lung” is actually worse than that and feels like the empty, plastic package that a Maroon 5 album would come in. CV

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