The Dalloways? California Dreampop at its finest. Think The Smiths meets Belle and Sebastian meets The Doves, and you're halfway to understanding these sometimes moody, often upbeat dreamers.
Penalty Crusade, the latest LP produced by Aaron Wall at Royal Dutch Company has consistently ranked at the top of the CD Baby editor's picks for California Pop and Brit Pop. Track to track, the listener moves through powerfully quiet moments like "Elected to Tell You" and the title track, to silky smooth, synth-laden tunes like "Cotty's House" (reminiscent of Flaming Lips), and finally to big crescendo flashes of pretty distortions and delays like "Marriage Arranged" and "Clarissa, Dear."
Here's what critics have to say:
"[The Dalloways] reach for Brit Pop and manage to find the sweet ether where California coolness ends and the emotional reverb of '80s British rockers begins." - Danielle Belton, Spin Zone Music Reviews
"The musical arrangements are rich and are so beautifully put together that I hear something new every time I listen. I highly recommend this album." - Jesse Rivera, Planet of Sound
"With top British influences such as The Smiths and Prefab Sprout, The Dalloways have definitely managed to create a style that includes both an atmospheric collage of musical elements and great songwriting." - Raina LeGaretta, Souls and Sounds
The Dalloways are storytellers, and underlying the beauty of the sound are strong narratives full of characters attempting to find their own ways for themselves: a down-and-out Olympic figure skater seeking lost love; a brother running from family and friends and making his own way in New York; lovers on the Metro feeling the separateness of their fractured relationship. Each song carries a tenderness and pain tempered with the possibility of reconciliation, of making it out, of finding love again.
The group is fronted by singer/songwriter Gerhard Enns, who, despite growing up in the agricultural community of California's Central Valley, coveted the great British pop/poet bands of the 80's and 90's in his youth. Enns lists among his early influences Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout, Morrissey of The Smiths, Paul Heaton of Housemartins and Beautiful South fame, and Nick Laird-Clowes of The Dream Academy, all songwriter's that share an affinity for merging style and substance together into enjoyable and moving pop songs. In songwriters, Enns says he admires most "a sense of playfulness and humor and subtlety . . . and an ability to say something truly touching through a pop tune."
The group: Gerhard Enns: vocals, guitars; Aaron Wall: drums, backing vocals; Matt Wall: bass; Ricky Gonzales: guitars; Nico Rhodes: keyboards, backing vocals.