DAWES  WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE

Since their arrival on the scene with their 2009 debut North Hills, and having already worked with both Jackson Brown, and Robbie Robertson, LA’s  Dawes have been heralded as the rightful successors to southern California’s literate folk/country rock crown and after four impressive albums and an exhausting touring schedule no-one else has emerged to challenge that lofty assertion. Chief songwriter guitarist and lead vocalist Taylor Goldsmith just gets better with each release; the band, an old school “more than the sum of its parts” type ensemble gels like its Laurel Canyon 1972 without the cocaine. If last year’s earthy David Rawlings produced All Your Favourite Bands showed off their unadorned ensemble work at its best We’re All Gonna Die (it’s production antithesis) takes a completely different approach by ditching the organic live in the studio aesthetic for a more cut up, sonically hip, processed percussion and 70’s synths/string adorned radio friendly production approach. LA cohort, producer/guitarist/artist Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes) called the shots and the band, thanks to the strength of Goldsmith’s captivating material was more than able to retain their distinctive qualities. The final result, although a little unsettling on first hearing soon gets under the skin and lingers in the subconscious. Standouts are the gorgeous title track, ‘Roll with the Punches’ and ‘One of Us’ but it’s hard to pick favourites when the quality is this good. Kim Cheshire