|Dent May — Across the Multiverse (August 18, 2017)|
Dent May — Across the Multiverse (August 18, 2017)
ι•ιι Mississippi~based singer~songwriter and sometime ukulele player whose songs blend catchy indie pop with synth~heavy dance music.
••→ “Musically, May has taken his multihyphenate fervor too far. The musician once satisfied with building an album around a single instrument is beleaguered by instrumentation; we’ve come a long way since the era of The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele. But here, the wall of sound is strangely, stultifyingly uniform, a thick slab of piano~led clangour — like the din of a bustling room overwhelming a lounge singer’s best efforts. Dense and muddled, the production is such a mess that song after song sounds the same. May could afford to simplify, strip down, and refine. Talent and charm of his caliber could only benefit from a renewed focus on the fundamentals.” (Calum Marsh)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Styles: Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Electronic, Alternative Singer~Songwriter
Album release: August 18, 2017
Recording Location: Echo Manor, Los Angeles, CA / Gravesend Recordings, Brooklyn, NY / Lukewarm Studios, Charleston, SC / Narimo, Pasadena, CA
Record Label: Carpark Records
01 Hello Cruel World 3:40
02 Picture on a Screen 3:37
03 Across the Multiverse 3:05
04 Dream 4 Me 3:59
05 Take Me to Heaven 4:29
06 90210 3:16
07 Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love 4:12
08 A Little Bit Goes a Long Way 4:18
09 Don’t Let Them 4:37
10 I’m Gonna Live Forever Until I’m Dead 3:47
11 Distance to the Moon 3:48
ι•ιι Dent May 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
ι•ιι Frankie Cosmos / Dent May 3
••→ Robert Beatty Artwork
••→ Greg Calbi Mastering
••→ Rob Carmichael Design
••→ Julian Fader Vocal Engineer
••→ Frankie Cosmos Composer, Featured Artist, Vocals
••→ Carlos Hernandez Vocal Engineer
••→ Anton Hochheim Drums
••→ Jamison Hollister Pedal Steel
••→ Yvette Holzwarth Violin
••→ Pat Jones Drum Engineering
••→ Dent May Composer, Producer
••→ Luke Mitchell Engineer
••→ Ian Tilghman Cover Photo
••→ Drew Vandenberg Mixing
••→ Chris Votek Cello, Engineer
••→ Clay White Trumpet
Album Moods: Ambitious Amiable/Good~Natured Campy Carefree Cheerful Earnest Earthy Exuberant Fun Gleeful Happy Irreverent Literate Pastoral Playful Refined Sophisticated Stylish Theatrical Witty Sweet Tender Warm
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ****½
ι•ιι After debuting with an album that showcased his ukulele skills and talent as a songwriter in the tradition of Paul Williams or Harry Nilsson, Dent May made two albums that showed off different sides of his musical personality. Do Things delved gently into various forms of dance music, while Warm Blanket was more subdued and almost a classic California piano ballad album. After a move to the state that inspired him so, May’s fourth album, Across the Multiverse, seamlessly melds all the elements of his style and sound into something really nice.
ι•ιι Working mostly alone except for drummer Anton Hochheim, May follows through on all the promise of his previous albums to create a modern singer/songwriter classic. He knocks everything he tries out of the park, whether it’s happily gloomy songs like “Hello Cruel World” that fully embrace the wistful~guy~behind~the~88s persona or slick disco~pop numbers that come off like the dancefloor hits the Carpenters never quite had. See the title track, an enchanting duet with Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, for the best example. Elsewhere, May wraps his sweet and sassy melodies in satiny backing vocal harmonies, conjures up the early~ ‘70s peacefully woolly edition of the Beach Boys, displays mastery of string arrangements, and basically proves to be something of a chamber pop whiz throughout.
ι•ιι The songs are all shot through with West Coast sunshine; even the most melancholy of them have warmth emanating from their centers. Partially, it’s the lush arrangements that account for this, but really, May’s winsome, winning vocals are the beating heart of the album. He’s got a nice boy~next~door quality going on — if the boy next door sounded like he passed his time singing duets with Muppets — but he can also break a heart when he needs to. Tracks like “Take Me to Heaven” and “Don’t Let Them” might have very shiny surfaces, but they have depth, too. The entire album has a surprising depth; even in its lightest moments — like on the strutting “I’m Gonna Live Forever Until I’m Dead,” which sounds like an outtake from The Point — there’s a sense that May is playing for real stakes, small as they are. The combination of frothy tunes and real feels is a deadly one, and May makes it work again and again.
ι•ιι His previous albums had most of the qualities that Across the Multiverse displays and they were perfectly fine. This time out, the best things are brought out in sharper focus and dressed up in finer clothing, and the record nearly achieves perfection. At the very least, it cements May’s place in the long line of witty, wonderful songwriters and performers he so clearly loves and emulates. More records like this, and 30 years down the road people will be looking to him for sweet inspiration.
ι•ιι “Don’t wanna move to Southern California / I wasn’t really meant for LA...” So sang Dent May once upon a time, now he’s eating those words with a side of avocado toast in his new Los Angeles bungalow. What made the lifelong Mississippi boy pull up stakes and head west? “No one looks at you funny if you wear a tuxedo to the supermarket.” What he means is he moved there to shake up his surroundings, clear his head, and write the most accomplished record of his young career, the magical mystery tour de force “Across the Multiverse.”
ι•ιι Following the lead of musical~polymaths~with~LA~ties before him like Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and Harry Nilsson, Dent’s style on “Across the Multiverse” will be familiar to fans of his previous work. Yet there’s something more refined about this collection... Stately strings mingle with boogie piano like old friends. Synths weave a celestial backdrop throughout. Every verse, bridge and chorus in its right place, giving it the unmistakable feel of a true songwriting craftsman at work. Lyrically Dent has never been sharper, musing on themes like modern romance (“Picture on a Screen”, “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love”), existential dread (“Dream 4 Me”, “I’m Gonna Live Forever Until I’m Dead”), and the distance to the moon (“Distance to the Moon”) as he searches for meaning among the infinite scrolling feeds of our 21st century augmented reality. The title track, a duet with Frankie Cosmos, is a deep space love song about finding love beyond impossible boundaries.
ι•ιι “Across the Multiverse” was written and recorded in a sunny bedroom in LA’s Highland Park neighborhood, with Dent producing and playing nearly every instrument himself. The tracks were selected from dozens of songs written after the LA move, a gold rush of productivity inspired by late nights DJing rare disco funk cuts at local watering holes.
Calum Marsh, 18.08., 2017; Score: 6.1
ιι•ι Like a crooner in outer space, Dent May makes glum sounds that sound happy, with old~fashioned panache. But the production of his latest collection is dense and muddled.
|Dent May — Across the Multiverse (August 18, 2017)|