Impressive second album from lively Scottish rockers.
Si Hawkins 2011-06-01
This Glasgow-formed sextet made a sizeable impact back in 2008, despite a career plan that bordered on self-sabotage. First they picked one of the most difficult-to-spell band names in rock history – Dan Aykroyd was one of the world’s most misspelled actors already – then developed a live show so raucous that injuries regularly resulted. Their original singer actually cut his eye during the first song of their first ever gig.
Capturing such a riotous ethos on record can be difficult, but their 2009 debut album, Hey Everyone!, came impressively close with its relentless onslaught of speedy-fingered riffs and good-natured shouting. For the follow-up the fun-loving Scots decamped to the famously chilled-out shores of Venice Beach, California. You might expect the mania to have calmed somewhat as a result, but while there are moments of quiet reflection here, generally speaking There Is a Way contains even more youthful larks than its predecessor.
The major achievement of this record – produced by Slipknot desk-jockey Ross Robinson – is the broadening of Dananananaykroyd’s sound, prising it clear of the numerous shouty young bands to have followed their lead. Sometimes this is rather off-putting – several tracks veer worryingly close to US-style skate-punk, notably the single Muscle Memory. But a distinctive Glasgow burr is pleasingly prominent, particularly when they slow everything down for a few fleeting seconds.
The standout track, an exhaustingly intense epic called E Numbers, benefits hugely from a quietly-sung interlude which was presumably inserted to prevent the band spontaneously combusting while playing it live. There are further welcome changes of pace throughout the album: a low-key intro here, a spooky echo effect there, and a couple of tracks that differ markedly from the usual template.
Apostrophe borders on anthemic soft-rock in places, albeit with a less-than-radio-friendly refrain about a spider’s corpse that’s "carried away by ants". And Think and Feel features an almost Kaiser Chiefs-like chant-along section – a very apt "dananana-nana" – then, of all things, a sax break. That may bewilder some devotees of the band’s previous work but the chorus is classic Dananananaykroyd: "I get bored, so I go outside / For a bee-er! For a bee-er!"
You can take the band out of Glasgow, but you can’t take away their pints.