taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

DAWES — Nothing Is Wrong

Dawes’ follow-up to their highly praised debut North Hills is clearly rooted in the transience of a touring band. While the four men from Los Angeles were on the road for a near ceaseless string of shows, the songs they wrote for Nothing Is Wrong represent the hastened maturation of artists that are relatively new to folk music, but have been quick to embrace and even innovate the storied Laurel Canyon sound. Jackson Browne built a legacy on far-flung folk rock, so it only makes sense that he would stop by to lend vocals on “Fire Away.” But here, Dawes are revisiting similar themes that remain timeless, but through their own lens. Opener “Time Spent In Los Angeles” suggests a chance meeting with a woman that reminds singer Taylor Goldsmith of home, and “My Way Back Home” is a sonic memory book from the road, filled with ephemera that hold significance only to him. Instrumentally, the album shows more comprehensive growth. The live recording of the debut had its flaws, but given a more delicate treatment on Nothing Is Wrong, their snappy musicianship shines. Every time Alex Casnoff engages his keys, it feel as if he’s nudging the song in a new direction. No note is wasted, particularly not by the masterful Wylie Geiber, who’s economical bass playing is like the syntactic punctuation to an ee cummings poem; you barely notice it until you notice it. Nothing Is Wrong suggests just that; Dawes is a band settling into a comfortable space where everything is right and there’s plenty of room to grow.


Dawes will perform at Ziggy’s on Aug. 10.