LONELY DAKOTA - End Of Days (EP)
In many ways, it’s an achievement that LONELY DAKOTA has even made it this far. It’s been quite the rollercoaster since the release of the band’s debut single back in 2016. Their sound has changed, personnel have changed but through it all their determination to take their music to the biggest audience possible remains undiminished.
So, after three years of hard work and struggle here we have the quartet's debut EP release ‘End Of Days.’ And while it’s impossible to fault the band’s undeniable passion which shines through in spades, the quality of the music is somewhat hit and miss.
Straight from the off, there’s something that just doesn’t quite click with the record. It opens with what is essentially a mid to low tempo ballad in the form of ‘Victoria.’ And although track order and arrangement isn’t as important in the streaming age as it once was, it almost ruins the flow of the EP before it’s even got going. This isn’t aided by the fact that this type of song isn’t suited to frontman Von Dee’s vocal style at all. He sounds like he’s overreaching and as a result, the song comes across as a bit forced. However, a stunning couple of guitar solos do their best to salvage the track and stand alone as a beacon of quality above what is the most disappointing song on the EP.
The thing that’s really infuriating about ‘End Of Days’ is that for all that it doesn’t reach the heights that it probably should, there is undoubtedly a decent band behind it all. The EP’s title track is a prime example. For everything that was wrong with the opener, the band put in a stellar performance at the second time of asking. The thicker sounding guitars and stomping rhythm section lay a thundering foundation and on this occasion, the vocals aren’t found wanting in the slightest. The band sound a whole lot more comfortable here, and it’s no surprise that the end result is frankly so much better.
‘Medication’ finds the band channelling their inner Stereophonics just with heavier and flashier guitars. The chorus is more than adequate, although the song lacks the spark which made the previous one so good. It’s a solid if unspectacular effort, but a perfectly fine track overall. Another of the EP’s singles ‘Overdrive’ quickly follows, in much the same vein. This time the overall feel is something more reminiscent of early Foo Fighters. The ‘bump and grind’ line nestled in the backing vocals does jar a little, but again the track is solid enough. There are little hints here and there at the band’s heavier side and that is something which it could pay to explore more in the future.
Proceedings are brought to a close by the slower and more emotion fuelled ’15 years.’ Style-wise it bears more resemblance to the opening track than anything else and comes perilously close to falling at the same hurdles. In places, again the vocals feel overreaching but there is a greater degree of balance here, which helps the track ride out the bumpy patches. It is also worth noting that as is the case throughout the EP the guitar work is pure, unadulterated filth. (In a good way) Across five songs of varying quality, the one constant and the one thing which shines above all else is the guitar of Paul ‘PJ’ Jackson, and for that, we must tip our collective hats.
As mentioned previously ‘End Of Days’ is a tremendously frustrating record. It manages to be stunning, average and downright poor all in one. Each member of the band is clearly talented, but they haven’t yet found the best way to mould those individual talents together to produce that one cohesive piece of work. This goes a long way towards explaining the EP’s uneven feel. The band’s journey to this point has been somewhat of a rollercoaster so maybe it’s fitting that their debut EP follows the same path. With that being said, there’s no need to give up on the band just yet. LONELY DAKOTA have unquestionably got a quality record in them, it’s just a matter of pulling it out.