Evan Isaac’s 2020 album, Dogwood Dignitaries Listen to the Baby (recently released on tape by Sentimental Records), overflows with joyful verve.
Dogwood Dignitaries sounds like a collection of hypermodern, synthed-up Elton John tunes sung by The Shins’ James Mercer. The thing just moves; every drum hit, synth flair, and guitar strum seems to bounce off every other instrument like a rubber ball. “Same Heart Attack” opens with subdued keyboards that bubble up until the track explodes into a funky power-pop anthem featuring syncopated guitar stabs and breakbeat-like drums. The sound is Mojave Desert-in-August sunny, but Isaac hints that everything may not be as peachy as it seems (“If you ask me about danger, it goes round and round in my head”). Sure enough, when the irresistible chorus hits, Isaac belts, “This day’s over, but it will come back next year/In a different form with the same heart attack,” punctuating the final three words with an extra dose of showman’s flair. Spice up the unending cycle of anxiety in your life by blasting this one to start the summer.
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