Currently touring the western half of the U.S. to promote their debut Caddywhompus EP, Los Angeles-based indie rock band DEN draws from an array of influences. They play the sort of upbeat, groovy rock and roll that reminds me of some of my favorites, old and new – the Pixies, Phil Collins, the Decemberists. The list can go on.
While their sound might not be particularly distinctive – at least, not yet – it is by no means boring, either. Lead vocalist Andres Arazoza’s impassioned, raspy vocals bring each song to life atop a layered, instrumentally diverse, jazzy rock blend.
Album opener “A Song” is a rhythmic country rock tune with a ’60s feel. Although it didn’t catch my attention at first, the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.
The second track, “Persuasion,” is my favorite. With the piano, fiddle and violins incorporated over an alternating tempo that ranges from frantic and screeching to mild and melodic, it was structurally interesting yet catchy.
Like the rest of the album, third track “Gohar” shows strong classic rock influences. Arazoza croons with the fervor of Janis Joplin to a moving blend of driving guitars, rolling pianos and tragic violins.
“Commonwealth Girl” is immediately infectious with its boisterous blend of instruments and Beach Boys-esque background vocals, incorporating a fun xylophone and pretty violin.
The fifth track, “ABABACAB” is mostly instrumental. Tambourines, organs and an array of other sounds come together in a fusion of psychedelic funk.
“Father War” is reminiscent of Neil Young. It’s a fitting final track as fluttering piano keys and soft violin create a rising, dramatic atmosphere.
DEN played at The G St. Pub on Friday. For more information on the band, visit myspace.com/dentheband.
Give these tracks a listen: “Commonwealth Girl,” “Father War“
For fans of: Of Montreal, Pavement, The Breeders