Sunday, 31 May 2009

Hey Everyone!


Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone!
released 6 April 2009 on Best Before

When growing up, we all had phrases that were drummed into us with the intent of turning us into safer, healthier, more-rounded and just plain better people. “Don’t talk to strangers” looks after the safety aspect, “eat your greens” has been repeated so many times that some of us turn to doughnuts as adults just because we can and “never judge a book by its cover” should ensure that we’re all able to get on with our fellow man. Ah, yes, “never judge a book by its cover;” a well-meaning mantra that doesn’t hold much weight in the literal sense seeing as book covers are often tailored to appeal to the target market of said book. Anyway, however non-judgemental you may be, we’re all only human and susceptible to preconceptions. On which note, take a look at the picture above this article - what in the name of Saint and Greavsie is that?!

First off, the cover art looks like it’s been designed by a primate with bloodlust and rudimentary MS Paint skills. Secondly, the typeface for the band name is plain horrible and resembles the kind of thing you’d find in a Wiccan graphic novel. But then lastly, and most importantly is the band name itself. It’s clunky, it’s unfunny and it prevents ‘naykroyd (as the band refer to themselves) from being taken entirely seriously. It must have been thought of as a stop-gap after a particularly heavy night out on the tiles and they’ve never got round to changing it. It’s from the same school of thought that sees you trying to take on the world with a band called Dogs Die In Hot Cars.

Right, that’s the book judged completely by the cover - what’s it actually like? The short answer is an unfocused mess, albeit a divertingly entertaining one. Imagine Los Campesinos! and Architecture in Helsinki had spent their formative years locked in a cupboard under the stairs listening to nothing but crunching metal riffs played at 45rpm and drinking Red Bull. That’s about as close as mere words can come to describing the frankly bizarre sound of Dananananaykroyd. This is an album stuffed with more crazy ideas than Willy Wonka’s factory, where songs change time signature and pace twice a minute with reckless abandon and can veer from unlistenable cacophonous noise to measured balladry to laugh-out-loud hilarity within the confines of the same track.

Hey Everyone!
opens with the vocal-less title track which manages to pack catchy riffs, bounce and a no-holds barred prog wig-out into its ninety seconds. This then gives way to Watch This!, beginning with tribal chanting and a Los Campesinos! style vocal imploring “Hiya - watch this! Watch this!” And watch - or rather, listen - is what you need to do; take your eye - or rather, ear - off this song for a second and it’ll turn around and lose you completely, which is a theme prevalent throughout the whole album.

When Hey Everyone! is calm and considered, it can be a thing of beauty. It’s just a shame Dananananaykroyd don’t let anything bed in before rewriting the rule book. Progressive rock influences run deep through The Greater Than Symbol and The Hash whilst a copy of Black Wax should be sent to all bands aspiring to be My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco to should how it should be done. Oddly, the principal lyrics to the chorus of Pink Sabbath appear to be “Dimitar Berbatov - hey!” and really, they might as well be for all the difference it makes.

The singing is all but indecipherable practically the whole way through Hey Everyone! as well as being extremely grating to endure. Sure, it has a passion and a rabid intensity but the vocals are so irritating (Totally Bone being a case in point) that it would be no exaggeration to say they’re on a par with the half-yelp half-scream that furnished The Automatic’s d├ębut album.

And this describes the contradiction that is Hey Everyone! - a record that’s never dull but you don’t want to listen to it, a record that’s full of bluster and played at break-neck speed but excels only when it’s restrained, and a record that seeks to combine the unlikely bedfellows of metal and twee pop. Everyone will find something appealing about Dananananaykroyd, no matter how small, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone truly loving this record, regardless of whether they judge it by its cover.

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