Dasher Shows Promise Upon Their Return
It has been a up-and-down roller coaster for Dasher. The band, fronted by drummer and vocalist Kylee Kimbrough, finished the production of their first LP and then presumably broke up, as Kimbrough moved from Atlanta to Bloomington, Indiana in order to take a step back. Over the last three years, however, Kimbrough and company have collectively rebuilt themselves. With new members and a new record, Sodium, Dasher are ready to jump back into the post-punk limelight.
Sodium is more of a remastered album. Most of the tracks are older Dasher songs that have already been put up on Bandcamp and reworked productively to sound more modern and acceptable within 2017’s indie rock scene.
As the production levels go up throughout Sodium, the re-worked songs showcase the group’s earliest work. There lies a lot of untapped potential in Dasher. The band boast unbelievable production, noise and distortion, but some of their songs fail to evolve enough to maintain interest. In “We Know So” and “Soviet,” the instrumentals carry the song enough to provide a sense of intrigue, but the repetitive choruses that often simply comprise of the title of the track do certainly weigh on the listener. It is a common trope that the band have the potential to get over as their songwriting improves.
The highlights on Sodium are impressive. Although the first few songs are repetitive, the tracks do improve as the album continues. The opening guitar riff to “Teeth” is straight out of a My Bloody Valentine album. It is haunting, complementing Kimbrough’s shouting voice exceptionally. Her screeches evoke a harsh tone that highlights the sound that Dasher do best. The time spent listening to this album certainly seems worth it on a track like this.
The title track, “Sodium,” does a good job of introducing dreampop tones at its onset, which are soon stomped down by Kimbrough’s vocals. While the vocals are aggressive, the shoegaze guitar noise here somehow balances with Kimbrough’s howl. The guitar’s high point occurs in “Trespass” when the collaboration of Dasher’s guitarists Steve Garcia and Derek McCain take the listener on a haunted house journey of a guitar solo.
“Eye See” is the punk of it all. The fast-paced drums with the guitar noise aesthetic mixes beautifully for a fusion of genres. Kimbrough’s vocals relay a crackling punk sound that fits perfectly on the track — specifically when compared to previous Dasher EPs. This truly shows the growth in songwriting that Dasher have undergone since taking time off and developing as musicians and people.
“Get So Low” is a good closer for the album because it is an old Dasher song that certainly exhibits all of the aspects that make Sodium an impressive album for a promising post-punk band. Kimbrough’s vocals screech up and down, a trend throughout the LP, but not in an annoying manner, merely one that complements the record.
Sodium shadows Fidlar just as much as it does any noise group, like My Bloody Valentine. Kimbrough’s harsh, punk rock vocals combine with the distorted production of noise rock for a record that shows the impressive potential of Dasher. Although a few tracks yield extremely repetitive choruses, the band’s instrumentals show a potential that will surely be realized if Kimbrough and Dasher continue to improve as songwriters.