More exposes their softer side – and it's immensely likable.
Sophie Bruce 2009
Forget 'no more mister nice guy'. Baltimore post-punk trio Double Dagger have chosen their third album to go 'no more nasty' – or at least a lot less so. More exposes their softer side – and it's immensely likable.
The trio consist of vocalist, bassist and drummer, so you could argue their sound is already pared down with an intimate demo-style feel. But the autobiographical theme here brings out a whole new side to often shouty vocalist Nolen Stral.
At only 39 minutes, the ten songs are fast but no longer all furious, with whimsical lyrics and intricate rhythms changing the aural assault often witnessed at live shows. There are vocals evoking the Manic Street Preachers and basslines that'd turn The White Stripes green with envy.
In the past, Double Dagger's political themes have won them fans. That rage against the machine is still evident, particularly on Half-Life (''have you got something to get off your chest with your dollar store pregnancy test, maybe this year won't be like the rest''). But More's autobiographical, whimsical feel – shown in lyrics like, ''I wrote my first will at nine years old… just in case we died'' - peeks openly into their childhoods.
Their softer side shines bright on Helicopter Lullaby, echoey-vocalled Half-Life and the fabulous first single, The Lie / The Truth – where Stral's drawling vocals transform the band's sound to mimic Talking Heads' brilliant Once In A Lifetime.
Rockier tracks, No Allies, Two-Way Mirror and We Are The Ones, with its screechy feedback sample, will no doubt come across better in the live shows. Though the exception is Vivre Sans Temps Mort – where the beguiling twinkly intro morphs into the kind of rock song you could imagine Stephen King penning.
Double Dagger may command in the sleevenotes that you 'play it loud, mutha', but don't be fooled. They continue to support local causes – recording in a derelict Baltimore office and staying thick with the local art and music community. These are the nice guys of post-punk. More still isn't mass-market music, but the softer side they bare within is guaranteed to stay deep within the ears and hearts of those it does reach.