DOMMENGANG: LOVE JAIL
You could fill a phone book with all the bands Dommengang sound like. But getting lost in a list—Black Sabbath, Crazy Horse, Hawkwind, 13th Floor Elevators—is to miss the point. Love Jail is a record that invites you to drop your expectations and submerge yourself in the mix, and for those who appreciate a sweetly sunburned riff and a heavy dose of fuzz, it’s about the journey, man, not the destination. Love Jail is the band’s second record, and their first since all three members—bassist Brian Markham, drummer Adam Bulgasem, and guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson—moved to Los Angeles, making this the first time they’ve all lived in the same city as a band. The result is an album that, more than their previous outing, sounds less like a lark and more like a statement. That statement is nothing so much as a full-bodied embrace of groove. This is a band that, as the swirling jams and egalitarian showmanship demonstrate, clearly enjoys being a band. The riffs are foregrounded throughout, but the songs are solid too, particularly “Stealing Miles,” a slurry desert fantasy about inhabiting isolated motels and unknown passages, and “Going Down Fast,” a stomper with a huge chorus. The record steps easily between unraveling freak-outs and concise hooks, at times grimy and severe (the thrumming, metallic “Lone Pine”), at others lush and ecstatic (hazy endorphin comedown “Stay Together”). It’s that non-flashy elusiveness that keeps easy categorization just out of arms reach. Check out the sunny album cover, a wide-open and unpretentious L.A. street scene. Like their new locale, Dommengang can be pretty and gritty all at once, a schema where lines aren’t easily drawn and where contradictions can be appreciated as a harmony of noise. Think of Love Jail the same way—a record that invites you to just shut your eyes for 41 minutes and ride the desert breeze.