February 4, 2010

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Dios, We Are Dios
Buddyhead Records, Feb. 16

We can all admit now that insider-hipster-rock pretty much sucked in the melody department for the couple of years prior to 2009, when all of a sudden bands started making music as if their livelihoods depended on it (they do) and they’d realized no more free passes were going to be handed out to any more smelly, pasty 98-pound weaklings who developed serious drug habits without posting the high level of record sales that traditionally lead to such things. L.A. hopheads Dios are geared for war in the current melody-hungry market, fronting an album that allows the pretentiously overdone critical comparison to Spacemen 3/Floyd/Byrds/Low/Brian Jonestown Massacre/Zeppelin to be deployed and actually have it pretty much nailed. Takes a few listens for this stuff to stick, but does it ever: “Epileptic Tunnel Visions” opens with a long-ass Sunn(((O))) ringout, dabbles in some “Green Tambourine” ’60s and finally lands on a monolith of a riff worthy of every rock-star pose ever struck by man. Given all the time in the world and unencumbered by a studio budget (all was done on a four-track), the band beat every song until it worked, even up to the joke-psychedelic “Toss My Cookies,” a conjectural peek at an alternate-reality JG Thirlwell who’d discovered music at a Beat Happening concert. One to look for at the year-end best-ofs. A Eric W. Saeger