Music Review: The Dustbowl Daddies, Phillip Eno, The Shy, McDead

The Dustbowl Daddies’ Nothing but Time opens reminds me of an epic song at the end of the movie as we get one last emotional look at the main characters as they go their separate ways. It’s a masterful bluegrass inspired alt-rock anthem saturated with emotion and energy. Well performed, well mixed, and well written, it’s a sleeper hit waiting to happen.

Down the Road by Phillip Eno offers a great pop track with thoughtful lyrics, a great memorable chorus melody and a solid vocal performance, and subverts that with a textural, at times abstract, and somewhat experimental instrumental that almost makes the song feel like a playful remix of a pop song you once heard in a store but can’t quite figure out what it was. Although the name might fool you, Phillip Eno (perhaps a reference to Phillip Glass and Brian Eno?) is actually a 5 piece band fronted by Nerissa & Lito Vales.

My Life by The Shy feels at once self-reprimanding and celebratory. A maybe auto-biographic expression of the highs and lows of life and the acceptance of adversity as an integral part of life. My favourite line “is late at night asking ‘can I crash on your sofa?'”. Although simple, it’s a very relatable sentiment that simultaneously says a lot, which maybe makes me yearn a bit for some more narrative lines in the verses and perhaps a more revelatory chorus lyric that I can hold on to for longer. A strength of the track is definitely the slightly emo mooded lo-fi beat track style that harkens back to acts such as Her Space Holiday, that could be further enhanced by greater contrasts between verse and chorus and a refined mix down.

Mercury Blue Tubes opens with psychedelic guitar tones and textural experimentation that will make you feel like you are an a hazy daydream somewhere between early Young Galaxy and Echo & the Bunnymen. I can really applaud the textural quality and sonic playfulness of the track and only yearn for a more addictive chorus and some vocal clarity to balance the track. The artist explains they focused on the mood over clarity, but with a lyrical subject matter inspired by field work in archaeology, I’m left wondering what the words are: is this the life of Indiana Jones incarnate or a story about the tedium of brushing away dirt, or maybe a little bit of both? Jokes aside, I really enjoy the teetering and slightly off-kilter mood of the song. It creates a great vibe for dreamy summer days in the sun.