Written Friday, September 27
Douse might be the best smelling band in the Vancouver music scene. They’re the only band I know of that makes their own soap and sells it at their merch table. I love seeing oddball merch at shows.
Even if you haven’t heard this album you might have already seen the cover. It appeared on cans of Collective Arts Brewing beers throughout BC earlier this year. They were one of four bands that won a contest to have their album cover featured on beer cans.
Soap and beer aside, The Light in You Has Left is an impressive and precise debut album. There’s a technical aspect to this album that sets it apart from the rest of the Vancouver music scene. Several songs have less conventional time signatures and timing changes, a practice that most rock bands would be wary of. Yet Douse delivers these less conventional beats with such proficiency and gusto that you might hardly even notice. And that’s often the somewhat ironic goal when departing from the beaten path. Any time you leave the safe 4/4 signature, you’ve got to do so in a way that people can still follow the beat, and still enjoy the song. Studies have shown that your average non-jazz-loving music fan can only handle a small to moderate level of syncopation before they find a song unenjoyable or hard to follow. This is why almost all mainstream music is in 4/4 or 3/4, with very few surprises.
The way these songs seem to ease the listener into their peculiarities is delightfully sneaky. Whether it’s a simple change like have a snare hit fall an eight-note off from where you’d usually expect it, or a 7/4 time signature, or a 6/4 signature, it seems every song on this album has some kind of technical flex to it. Yet, when you listen to it as a whole, it’s done so seamlessly. One would hardly notice. And that’s the beauty of it.
Technicalities aside, it’s a very emotional album. And it’s the soothing vocal delivery that solidifies each song. I love the lyrics of the opening track, The Importance of Each Other. The sombre tone is so effective with these lyrics and this calculated guitar sound they’ve crafted.