Why Dories Rules by Will Wellington (2016)

 In Why This Rules


There’s good news and there’s bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way: every swingin’ dick and his cousin have a couple amps and a gig at the local watering hole. There’s a lot of feedback in the air and a lot of bands on the bill. The question of who to see—or whose bandcamp to comb through—has become more fraught than it has any right to be, what with our hours and dollars stretched so very thin.

Now, the good news. When good shit comes along, it sticks out. It sticks out big time.

Dories is good shit and you can tell within about thirty seconds of them stepping onstage. I first saw them at the ANAF maybe a year ago and there was buzz in the air. I was ready for a great show, but the openers had not delivered, rattling off cliché after fuzzed-out cliché. I checked out somewhere in the middle of a mediocre Sonic Youth cover, but meandered back to the front as four unassuming, gawky young men took the stage, conservatively dressed and groomed, radiating the opposite of charisma. Moments into their first song, the whole night made sense. This is why you come to these shows. This is what you always hope to discover.

I’m not going to dance about architecture here. Start up a track and you’ll get what they’re trying to do (although it’s much, much better live). It’s kinda math-y, kinda poppy, kinda jangly, kinda noisy, kinda psychedelic. The vocals are slacker-y. The guitar harmonies are rich and suggestive. I don’t know enough to meaningfully comment on whether or not what they’re doing is cutting edge. All I can tell you is that turning on a Dories record on your walk to work feels like stepping into the poignantly aimless expanse of a waking dream. For some reason, it makes me think of Pan’s Neverland, with airy arpeggios dancing before your eyes like fairy dust, overgrown harmonic foliage tangling at your feet, and a crocodile’s stomach pulsing in the shadows. When I hear Dories, I see disaffected lost boys sprawling in the sun-soaked woods, their minds full of beautiful patterns, their voices too thick and slow to express themselves, silently brushing each other with clumsy fingers, hoping to communicate something that can’t be said.

That’s what the good shit does. It doesn’t just make you want to dance (although I’ll dance my face off at a Dories show). It makes you see things. Things you don’t forget in a hurry. Things you want to tell people about. Dories is good shit, folks. See for yourselves.

Will Wellington is event coordinator at The Dragon, co-founder of People House Theatre, and former editor-in-chief of Kaleidoscope Magazine.

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