Musicians clearly like playing for Dominic Lavoie. After getting an invite to support the release of his 2012 solo record, ShaShaSha, a powerhouse team of local players has kept on collaborating, and the result is a five-song EP, VanDyke Brown, that has some very enjoyable moments.
All these guys play like crazy — drummer Dan Capaldi (Sea Level, Soft Bullets, Dean Ford), bassist Pete Genova (Model Airplane, Lauren and Pete), guitarist Kyle Gervais (Cosades, Grand Hotel, KGFreeze), Justin Wiley on keyboards and programming (Dreamosaic) — or were Lavoie’s old bandmates in the Lucid, like guitarist Scott Mohler and drummer Chuck Gagne. So it’s no surprise they can do just about anything.
“VanDyke Brown” is an Ohio Players kind of R&B track, with keyboards in for the horns and a few digital whirs and boops. Capaldi evokes a pimp swagger and Lavoie drops down for some Barry White croon. They follow that up with “Motherbird,” a pretty track like modern CSN, with harmonies layered into the chorus and Lavoie showing off his timbre over an acoustic guitar: “I’ll sing the baby blues/ I wouldn’t have to choose/ Which views I use/ Just spread the news/ That we’re in love.” He’s upbeat like that.
Then “Y’all Make Me Paranoid” seems to be a nod to Paranoid Social Club, with Genova channeling Jon Roods with an active bass and Gagne left to get pretty melodic in the mid-song instrumental break. Lavoie is as aggressive as you’ve heard him in a while.
This is some of the most engaging material Lavoie has come up with in what’s a fairly large body of work. Where’s it going? We’ll see. And hope for more.
VANDYKE BROWN | Released by ShaShaSha | with Toughcats + Jeff Beam’s Loudspeaker Wallpaper | at Port City Music Hall, in Portland | Aug 23 | facebook.com/shashashamusic
: CD Reviews
, Dominic Lavoie, ShaShaSha