For hotly-tipped Nottingham foursome Dai Lo, theirmoment of truth has come at a time when the British metal scene is down onits bruised knees pleading for someone to kick the flares off the “rockrevolution” revivalists. Yes there’s a pretty big vacuum left, but what wethe people need is someone, quite simply, different enough and of quality (andno, The Darkness do not count).
Which is why when Dai Lo’s green disc slipped through theletterbox, methodical attention was paid to this, its final judgement. Whathas made this apparently simple process more difficult than Lord Hutton’slate-night lamenting, is Dai Lo swinging on the ropes of great andgerbal-shite, clocking between the two poles like a promising gymnast.
Invigorating opener Vigilante sets an inviting tone and the reverb-driven House of Cards pumps in some epic anthem early on – think the doomy feedback of AFI (circa Art Of Drowning) meets Glassjaw. Quite a combination, and it’s made all the more intriguing by singer Shaun Bailey’s impressive vocal work.
Indeed what determines how you take to Dai Lo is howyou welcome Bailey, who has been likened to Faith No More‘s Mike Patton and just asquickly dismissed as “toss” by my test audience of friends. In three wordsthe answer to the question of similarity is, “Yeah, kind of.” Bailey shares the similar fluidic vocal range – just don’t expect him to scream and rap like a jack-rabbit on speed. Theevidently energetic Bailey bears striking oral resemblance to Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo, and at his relaxed best, Mother Love Bone‘s Andrew Wood.
On The Devil’s Prize sinister riff work isdiscreetly funk-dressed with Rage Against the Machine‘s boxers andBailey’s sprayed diaphragm clenching, while emo-esque Irresistible ForceVs. Immovable Object is the perfect ticket to beat-down city, detouringdown melodic slip roads along the way.
Things start to peter out on Misery Machine with big,downtuned guitars, screaming and scratch work. “You can do better thanthat, you can do better than that!” lurches Bailey – you certainly can mate.And they do. Green Umbrella is Mother Love Bone had they knocked about 10years later, with Bailey’s character-filled vocals again on impressive form.And though Golden Rule has been ripped from the Deftones‘ dictionary, it’s too good a tune to ignore, finding Bailey at his most Mike Patton.
This copy of the album climaxed prematurely on Close – which issurely a candidate for first single with its posh effects, overdubs andradio-friendly tempo – before peaking surprisingly at its very knell with astripped down acoustic moment, emotionally Staind but notdespairingly clinging to empty boxes of Prozac.
As Dai Lo cryptically point out, we all live underthe constant threat of accidental death. With this impressive debut, thepotentially oozing quartet can live safe in the knowledge that whateverhappens, they’re starting to etch their mark. They just need to make itpermanent.