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September 1, 2005

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I’ve heard that 80% of statistics are made up on the spot. And I’m pretty sure that when I heard that, it was being made up right then. It was, after all, on a morning radio show, a forum not known for its dedication to research or its reliance on hard facts. I’ve also heard that 40% of what you hear on the radio are complete fabrications. For example, Justin Timberlake did not really want you to cry him a river, and Mariah Carey is not being entirely honest when she tells you that “we belong together.” However, sources indicate that Lil John sincerely wants to get crunked, and I am inclined to believe him.

So a lot of statistics are made up, and such is the case with this band of the same name. Statistics is one man, Denver Dalley, a few friends, and a musical vision. Once hidden in the shadows of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst as fellow members of Desaparecidos, Dalley has stepped forward and into his own as a one-man band.

Like Pedro the Lion’s David Bazaan or the aforementioned Oberst, Dalley is the orchestrator and sole fixture in his “band,” doing as much as he can on his own (guitar, vocals, synth, etc.) and enlisting the help of friends and associates to do the rest. The final product is perfect indie pop. This is the kind of music that makes you glad that music exists. It won’t make you angry, it won’t make you sad, it will just make you happy to be where you are enjoying the sound from your speakers.

Dynamics and layers are what truly make this album great. Dalley is not afraid to forego the typical drums/bass/guitar formula typical of the indie pop genre in favor of more synthetic sounds. Fortunately for the listener, the choices feel entirely appropriate and never calculated. Guitars are wrapped in blankets of electronic textures, warming their bones by a fire fueled by dreamy pop and solid indie rock. Simply put: every song is a pleasure to experience.

The lyrics are excellently written, and particularly modern. Several times I found myself asking questions like, “Did he just sing something about cell phones?” And yes, he did. Lyrically, this record is a reflection of our time and the overlap between band life and real life. And all of this without distancing the listener (because these days everyone knows someone in a band).

If you’re looking for comparisons, I would suggest a mixture of Pedro the Lion and Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity album. But this record does not borrow or emulate; it merely reminds.


Christopher Thomas