Sunday, May 15, 2011

On The Cusp: Dignan

Image courtesy of Daytrotter

Dignan is a band who captured my attention the instant that I heard them, their sound is something unique and sultry, but filled with intensity and and honesty.  Based out of McAllen, Texas, Dignan is a five-piece band fronted by Andy Pena that draws heavily from bands like Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, and Arcade Fire.  I know that throwing around names like that as comparisons draws a bit of an idealistic vibe to the band, but they live up to it without a shadow of a doubt.  Songs like "Whistler" on their 2009 release, "Cheaters & Thieves" take the listener on a sonic adventure with the song ranging from sweet and subtle harmonies, with a catchy whistling melody to boot, to booming chants and resounding drums.  It's not just the way that Andy sings though that draws the listener in, it's what he's saying.

"Someday we'll all be holding hands
Whistling a song that translates in every land"

Andy's a master of brevity, he could paint a picture in a thousand words or three.  The band has played shows with acts like Ra Ra Riot, Colour Revolt, All Get Out, and O'Brother, and their repertoire only continues to grow.  It's no wonder why either when you listen to the band and see exactly what everyone's been picking up on.  Andy Pena opens up the doors to his life for his listeners, leaving it all on the table as he screams out or croons over lost love, faith, and everything in between.

The band brilliantly layers their harmonies and poly-rhythms, adding to the grandiose sound already brought to the table.  Hearing Andy's voice break from a sing to a shout emits a feeling of desperation, sincerity, and most importantly direction.  Direction towards a sound that thrusts the band further and further away from any band that could plausibly be compared to Dignan.  Direction towards a way to find out all about our inner self and what makes us tick, because that's what Dignan can do.  Dignan revolves around suffering and persevering, whether it be "running from the devil" and  "running from God", or taking a step back because you're "two steps from ruin", the band is always saying something worth hearing.

Dignan just had a Daytrotter Session posted which can be found here.  If you're interested in checking out more music from Dignan then be sure to check out their EP, "Cheaters & Thieves".  Also, lead singer Andy Pena has a side-project called Quiet Kids worth checking out as well.

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