I almost feel as if California quartet Dawes had planned the name of their second album Nothing Is Wrong just to land the above headline that renders the album a perfect masterpiece. I know they didn't but it's a clever move, especially considering at what caliber of talent Nothing Is Wrong finds Dawes performing at.
Dawes became darlings of the Midwest with the unironic classic rock sound of their debut album, North Hills. In the years since the release, Dawes has found themselves sharing the stage with everyone from Bright Eyes to The Walkmen, playing noteworthy festivals the world over, and selling out venues like Lincoln Hall on their own solo tours. Of course, the adoration coupled with the fact that Dawes isn't exactly doing anything new or groundbreaking resulted in a bit of a Dawes backlash that left me curious to see how the naysayers would react to the band's newest disc.
It ends up if those naysayers are still saying their nay, it's fallen on deaf ears. Nothing Is Wrong has capitolized upon the buzz Dawes has built over the past two years and then some. The group's garnering high profile tours and glowing reviews left and right and with good reason: Nothing Is Wrong is filled with instant classics ("So Well", "How Far We've Come", a stellar version of which can be found at Daytrotter) that find Dawes perfecting the timeless formula that's endeared them to so many. Sure, Dawes isn't doing anything that the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young haven't done before but Dawes isn't about being groundbreaking. It's about making anthemic, '70's tinged songs that wear their heart on their sleeves in an endearing every-guy sort of way. Anyone who's ever had their heart broken will find a sympathetic shoulder to lean on in front man Taylor Goldsmith's lyrics, which find the frontman alternating between sober apathy, bitter disdain, and lovelorn longing.
Nothing Is Wrong is chock full of songs that the band has perfected on the road and the tightness of the foursome is evident throughout the album. For proof of this, look no further than the quick paced and intricate guitar work on "How Far We've Come", a track anyone who's caught Dawes over the past two years will remember from the song's triumphant sing-along nature. Nothing Is Wrong finds the band taking the formula they perfected with North Hills and running with it. The song writing is stronger, the musicianship more precise. With their sophomore effort, Dawes proves that the instant-classic sound of their debut was no fluke and if this trend continues, we'll have a lot of the same to enjoy from the foursome in the future.