After a five-year hiatus, the trio dada returns with a set of previously unreleased tracks that show their range. The group, which had an alt-rock hit with 'Dizz Knee Land' in 1992 and put out a number of unappreciated records, took some time off to explore their individual muses, and it sounds like the period of separation has been time well spent. While their name implies otherwise, dada is very much a traditional rock band built upon a foundation of wondrous harmonies, a superior rhythm section of drummer Phil Leavitt and bassist Joie Calio, and the mercurial guitar work of Michael Gurley. Their best songs feature expansive, ambitious arrangements that allow the trio to play off of each other and explore their musical dynamic to the fullest. When they click here as they do on 'Guitar Girl,' 'Blue Girl,' and the acute 'Love Is a Weird Thing,' the results are melodically rewarding and emotionally engaging. dada travels the road of life looking back through a fractured rear-view mirror where love is skewered, events are random and sometimes surreal, and offbeat characters are the norm. It makes for ambiguous yet entertaining listening. The sound here is rougher than their previous works and the songs don't feel as seamless as they would if they were recorded in one session -- they were cut piecemeal over the years. Still, it's good to hear that this band is alive and well. dada plays Harpers Ferry on March 5.
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