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With its fourth album, Dawes calls from deep inside the feedback loop of love's aftermath, a place where stray scenes from happier times rattle around unexpectedly to reinforce the stark loneliness of the present moment.
For a songwriter, it's an interesting place to hang out, and singer songwriter Taylor Goldsmith takes full advantage of the dramatic possibilities. He's alternately philosophical and angry, full of despair and also warm fare-thee-well wishes for the girl who left to find out what life was like without a chaperone. The band is right there with Goldsmith — following the ups and downs and enhancing his vocals with nicely textured accompaniments. Much of the record was captured live in the studio, including the lead vocals, and that method allows Dawes to create wild mood swings and sudden changes of weather.
These songs would, of course, sound just fine if built layer by layer, with all the placidness and finesse we associate with the Laurel Canyon sound. But when done this way, the ragged edges and biting guitar chords somehow make those memories of love lost seem real, believable and even poignant.