Dom had a pretty good 2010. The Worcester, Mass. lo-fi indie pop outfit, fronted by a dude who simply goes by Dom, released Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, an easy, breezy and carefree pop record that earned them the kind of acclaim that ultimately got the attention of Astralwerks Records. The band toured, reissued the EP and collaborated with Gucci Mane, all the while building up anticipation for a proper full-length album. As of yet, that full-length has not materialized, but the group has nonetheless offered the next best thing: a five-song EP titled Family of Love.
Family of Love is short; about 17 minutes to be exact. In fact, brevity seems to be one of the most identifiable qualities about the band’s work. Yet the fuzzy, homespun sound of the group’s debut EP has been swapped out for a bigger, more professional sound on Family Love, albeit one that retains its predecessors rough-edged quirks and slacker charisma. Producer Nicholas Vernhes (Deerhunter, Animal Collective) manages to extract the best and most electrifying performances out of Dom and his band of New England misfits on this EP, employing a variety of odd studio tricks (e.g. “dial-tone solo”) to lend further depth to the band’s quickly evolving sound.
One need look no further than EP standout “Damn” to fully hear the stunning amount of progress Dom has made since Sun Bronzed Greek Gods. Upbeat and surging with energy, the track is a giddy rocker that displays an infectious momentum and the kind of hooks that existed in chrysalis the last time out. Elsewhere, on the title track and “Happy Birthday Party” in particular, Dom lunges into a synth-driven psychedelic pop weirdness a la Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, though the latter’s synth-funk pulse pushes the band further into danceable territory, which is a sound that suits them well. Only the slightly off-key vocals of “Some Boys” stand as a misstep here, and just marginally so. Production wise, the track is actually quite gorgeous.
Not all of the edges are smoothed out on Family of Love, nor should they be, quite frankly. Dom is not a band of perfectionists, but rather a scrappy group with an uncanny knack for melody. Nonetheless Family of Love is a big step forward, a brief showcase of some stellar new music from a band whose evolution remains well worth watching.
Stream: Dom – “Damn”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.