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A kaleidoscopic excursion to far reaches of dada-ville
Alan Hutchins | Denver , CO | 05/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"dada's third (and final)IRS release "El Subliminoso" is their only self-produced effort (to date, anyway). For this 1996 release, the group finally got control of the `helm'. The dense pile of multiple overdubbed layers on most tracks, the occasional stylistic departures, and the overall extended song lengths of this disc are evidence of the group flexing their studio "muscles" and letting themselves capture their full vision for the songs without someone else calling the shots or reigning them in. Close study of the results reveals a fascinating set of songs that were labored over for many months-songs that continue to reveal hidden details even after years of listening. Their extensive efforts paid off with the creation of one of the most varied and distinctive discs in an already high-quality catalog.
There are plenty of songs that stay firmly within the alt-rock-power-trio-with-harmony-vocals musical territory staked out in their tasty '92 debut "Puzzle" and the sumptuous '94 follow-up "American Highway Flower". These include the soft verses/loud choruses dynamics of "I Get High" , "Rise", and the disc opener "Time Is Your Friend", a rumination on mortality's ever-ticking clock. Also somewhat conventional dada-sounding are the rockin' "Sick in Santorini", the scathing rumination on self-centeredness called "Fleecing of America" and one of the disc's highlights, "A Trip with My Dad". This humorous, surrealistic tale of father/son bonding is craftily worded so that you are never quite sure whether this is the recounting of an actual point-A-to-point-B car trip, or whether maybe the two simply climbed in the station wagon, dropped acid in the driveway and never even started the engine.
A few songs stray farther from the dada `comfort zone' with generally good results. "Bob the Drummer" slightly resembles the spoken-word (not quite rapping) style of a song from their debut disc called "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" but incorporates a hip-hop beat. The sci-fi influenced "Spirit of 2009" employs some of the most densely-fuzzed bass on the planet to go with futuristic guitar sounds, distorted vocals and strangely muted drumming. "Star You Are" has an easy-listening, all acoustic, lush-harmony sound-but this deceptively sugary package hides a poisonous sting: lyrics representing the twisted world view of a deluded, homicidal "fan". This is easily the most chilling and disturbing song in the entire dada catalog if you listen closely enough."El Subliminoso" ranks as the most distinctive disc in the dada discography, and its occasionally challenging passages make it harder to absorb that the more immediately likeable other three 90's discs of dada. This disc, however, is most representative of the bands' vision and will ultimately reward the listener for making the investment in time it will take to fall in love with it. (Try it with headphones, by the way--amazing). After this came out, IRS records imploded. After a self-titled 1998 disc on MCA failed to trouble the charts, dada entered the new millennium on a label-less, multi-year, self-imposed hiatus. The good news for fans is that after years silence or side projects (such a Butterfly Jones) they've revved up again in 2003. Look for more this year and beyond from this amazingly talented group."
Alan Hutchins | 11/25/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"El Subliminoso is one of those albums that you "try out" because you've heard some stuff by the artist (in this case, Dada), and you really score. I can't think of one track I don't like on this album. It's creative, original, ... you'll find yourself just bopping and banging pretend drums to the music. The mood is pretty upbeat, yet with enough poignancy to get to your emotions. It's kind of hard to tell what they're actually singing about, but that doesn't really matter, because the music is killer. I guess the genre is rock... mood or ambient rock? with a bite. Check it out, you won't be disappointed."
Dada Begins to Branch Out
Eric R. Last | San Bruno, CA United States | 08/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Dada's third album, yet another 5-star effort, though I like the first 2 slightly better. "The Spirit of 2009" and "No One" are outstanding tracks which would have fit right in on the earlier albums, but Dada begin exploring some more varied styles on other fine songs like "Sick in Santorini" and "Bob The Drummer". Another winner."