You probably haven’t heard the name Dorias Baracca before. They were a shoegaze/dream pop band that formed in Odense, Denmark way back in 2007 by a group of young friends. They were inspired by the giants of the genre that came before them; Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and the like. In 2010 Dorias Baracca released a well-regarded EP, one that began to make a name for the band. “…Already light years ahead of many peers who’ve spent entire careers searching for a similar happy medium”, said one well established music site. So in 2011 the band began recording what would be their full-length debut, a record that surely would’ve solidified the band’s future as one of the great new rock bands of the 21st century.
But it was not to be.
In the summer of 2011, the same day that the band had finished recording their stellar debut album, lead singer, guitar player and main songwriter Buster Svendsen passed away. The band with so much promise and fire had ended in the course of a day, and with it that debut LP. For various reasons the recordings Dorias Baracca had created were shelved for years. That is, until now.
Azure Vista Records have released Dorias Baracca’s debut album for the world to hear. Co-produced, mixed, and mastered by Jonas Munk(Causa Sui, Billow Observatory, Manual, Ulrich Schnauss), the album is a testament to the longevity of great music and the youthful heart. It is a blistering shot of shoegaze, psychedelia, and early 90s alternative rock. And it is a fitting tribute to the memory of Buster Svendsen.
In just 38 minutes, Dorias Baracca encapsulates what makes the shoegaze genre such an exciting one. They veer in and out of dreamy pop, jagged guitar noise, and the ethereal pondering that the classics of the genre often influenced us to do. “Handsome Melting Point”, the opening track, brings to mind Ride and Chapterhouse, but with a heavier edge. Where some of those classics, however great, could come across thin in the final mix, here there’s a heft in the dense sonics. There’s more in common here with modern bands like Whirr and Nothing than Lush and Catherine Wheel. “Dean & Dane” is all summer holiday bliss. It’s a breezy car ride to the shore with the top down and someone you could love forever sitting next to you. Munk’s mastering here is near perfection. Where others may have mixed and mastered this to a two-dimensional conclusion, Munk creates an all-encompassing sound experience. Even in the dreamier moments there’s something darker just under the surface. Guitars squealing and whirring halting the good vibes, before things pick back up and the sun peaks out once again from behind the dark clouds. “Fed” is a hard-driving track, recalling a more clear-eyed version of My Bloody Valentine. Svendsen’s vocals have a hint of Kevin Shields here, albeit a more spry version of the shoegaze pioneer. It’s a telling track and one you don’t soon forget. “Shaky Dreams(You and Me Forever)” is haunting. A mix of Lush’ melancholy and Dorias Baracca’s own modern twist. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful track. young prism’s In Between comes to mind here.
Elsewhere, “Another Day(Without Shoes)” takes the shoegaze feels into more modern territory. When I say this has more in common with bands like Nothing and Whirr, keep in mind this was coming from half a world away and 3 years before Nothing’s full-length debut Guilty Of Everything. There’s elements of dreamy pondering as well as heavier, denser fare scattered throughout that would be the hallmark of Dorias Baracca’s American counterparts a couple of years later. “Goodbye” brings to mind Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in part with the open, chugging riff. It quickly takes a turn into something you might’ve located hidden in Captured Tracks’ shoegaze archive back in the day. “Wake Me Up(With A Kiss)” is an all-out dream pop beauty. Big drums, jangly guitars, and ethereal vocals layer over one another to create a dense and dreamy ending to this captured musical moment in time.
While Dorias Baracca had their foundations in classic bands, the biggest takeaway here is how they were creating their own voice among a chorus of many. That’s the trick you know, taking your influences and mixing them like paint in your own musical palate; creating new and exciting colors to paint with. On just a mere 7 tracks recorded in the summer of 2011, Dorias Baracca were well on their way to making a name for themselves as an exciting and creatively vital rock band. They had the musicianship and songwriting chops, and they had the drive and creativity to pretty much go as far as they wanted. Unfortunately fate stepped in and all of it ended. Until now, with this debut.
Seven years on and we can finally hear the promise Dorias Baracca held. Play this loud, and often.
Preorder Dorias Baracca here.
8.4 out of 10