REVIEW: TITLE TRACKS – LONG DREAM (2016)
John Davis isn’t going anywhere. Debuting in 1998, Davis and his DC dance-punk trio Q And Not U explored the spastic, synthy, sweaty sound that seemed all the rage around the millennial year, quietly disbanding seven years later. Georgie James, Davis’ charming indie pop duo with Laura Berhann, delighted Saddle Creek Records fans from 2005 to 2008 with infectious groove and synthy sheen. Davis, now on guitar and out from behind the drum kit, explored power pop and garage bop on Title Tracks’ 2010 debut It Was Easy and, six years later, returns with it’s follow up, Long Dream.
Long Dream thoughtfully pays homage to everything from the Kinks and Costello, to Squeeze and The Jam. Slacker cool, indie bop — Davis and his, now three piece, band craft one hell of a pop song on Long Dream. Jangly and hummable pop from the 60s, 70s and 80s are recycled here with a DC snarl Davis shows in all his songwriting projects.
“Low Cool” and “I Don’t Need to Know” kickstart the sophomore set, with Davis’ amped up riffs recalling the spastic noodlings of his earlier dance punk songbook. The hopped up pogo bounce of “Not Enough Too Soon” is all Squeeze and Devo, with a bridge that screams for sing alongs in the spirit of Japandroids or Cloud Nothings. “Empty Heavens” and “Protect Yourself” coil inwards, churning almost gothy hymns. “Circle You” nods to the Buzzcocks, “When You Come Back” to Big Star and Marshal Crenshaw. Through Long Dreams, Title Tracks have one foot in Britannia and the other the basement rock of 70s suburbia.
Modern indie rock is the domain of the survivalist. The best artists these days (to completely overgeneralize, of course) are those who’ve just kept chugging along from project to project, scratching that insatiable itch that is the songwriters curse. John Davis is blessed with ability to write a damn catchy song and Title Tracks’ Long Dreamsis full of just that — memorable, if not remarkable, indie pop songs.