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splendid > reviews > 5/22/2003
Dropsonic
Dropsonic
The Big Nothing
54 40" or Fight


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Monday"

Buy me now
This review is about two years late, as Dropsonic have put out another whole album since The Big Nothing's release. This edition is actually a reissue, but it's new to me.

Sometimes I think that Radiohead's mainstream popularity, while certainly introducing a lot of people to good music they wouldn't otherwise have heard, is a mixed blessing. Many other bands that have come up since their rise to fame could be written off as Radiohead rip-offs, when all they're doing is making intelligent, layered music with pretty male vocals. Dropsonic are such a band.

Much of it is due to multi-instrumentalist/singer Dan Dixon, whose dramatic phrasing and vocal melodies are made even more Yorke-esque by his slightly nasal yet delicate voice. "The Tough Guy", starting out with unearthly choral backups and a slowly unfolding melody, at first comes dangerously close to the line between influence and mimicry. While Dropsonic's members are competent enough at dreamy bombast, though, they know their way around a rock tune as well. A couple of minutes in, "The Tough Guy" shifts into something that sounds more like "Carry on My Wayward Son" played by Lynyrd Skynyrd than anything else. Going through several evolutions and clocking in at seven-plus minutes, it earns the "epic" label as well. The Big Nothing is generally rather heavier on the classic-rock end than otherwise, but Dropsonic put a sensitive spin on their music. They make it seem as if they wouldn't go home with a groupie who didn't know her nineteenth-century Russian authors.

Given the state of radio programming, I wouldn't change the station if Dropsonic were to come on; I'd probably take it as a light at the end of the alternative-nü-metal-rock tunnel. With their palatable name and mix of quite obvious influences, many of which are played on your local K-ROCK-whatever station five times a day, this is a distinct possibility. More power to them.



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