Garage rockers everywhere exult, for your salvation has arrived in The Dexateens.
This Alabama quintet’s low-fi spin on its latest release, Singlewide, gives fans and purveyors of stripped-down, crunchy rock and roll reason to celebrate; this record contains no pomp, no highly stylized, overproduced slickness. Instead, it is gritty and gravelly, so much so that, once it hits your player, you’ll almost swear you are listening to a sweet piece of vintage vinyl.
Singlewide kicks off with an impromptu comment captured during the recording sessions – "Alrighty . . . somebody do something." Soon thereafter, The Dexateens do just that – they quickly launch into the staccato percussion/muted guitar rhythm of "Down Low" and introduce listeners to the charming whine of Elliot McPherson’s vocals, which warble with equal parts Tom Petty, Todd Snider, and Matthew Sweet.
The songwriting of McPherson and fellow founding Dexateen John Smith shows a fondness for looking within. McPherson’s drowsy drawl in "Caption" asks, "If there was a caption of the picture of your life/would it tell the story that you tell yourself inside," "Hang On" implores you to do just that when things get tough, and "New Boy" chronicles a lamenting songwriter’s grass-is-greener-somewhere-else struggles.
Singlewide also shines during its lighter moments. "Trail" boasts quirky, nonsensical lyrics and an infectious, bouncy rhythm, and "Spark" is just the sort of friendly pick- me-up you might need when feeling glum.
The final track on the record, "Can You Whoop It," provides the perfect rhetorical question for The Dexateens. With Singlewide they prove that, yes, they can.
Singlewide is out now on Skybucket/Cornelius Chapel Records.