Dent May - Do Things

Maybe we preferred Dent May with the ukulele after all.

Dent May’s main forte used to be playing the ukulele – he once released an entire album titled after the instrument’s magnificence. Psychedelic big-guns Animal Collective signed Dent May straight onto their record label Paw Tracks to release ‘The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele’ and whacked him on the stage at their band-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. Three years later though, Dent May appears to have had a change of heart, and has returned, largely sans magnificent ukulele, with ‘Do Things’, trading in his undersized guitar for disco aspirations.

While Dent May has added strings to his metaphorical ukulele, his sound remains sugar-sweet, cheerful and, with the addition of even more upbeat melody, bordering on irritating. ‘Don’t Wait Too Long’ assumes a hammy disco mindset with a brief foray into a guitar interlude; conjuring disco balls and gaudy light-up dance floors aplenty. This is relentless positivity on tap. “I was stumbling in the haze, you came out and showed the way” drawls Dent May on ‘Best Friend’, before continuing to reel out every friendship cliché in sight. It’s almost as if Dent May has been flicking through old 70’s vinyl, plucking out whatever he fancies – ‘Do Things’ features every musical trope in the book.

It is hard to shake off the amusing idea that this album would be a perfect soundtrack for a modern-day Grease set in Shoreditch. Not only would it be hilarious watching hipsters trying to attend a school dance ‘ironically’, the doo-woppy tambourine spangled title track ‘Do Things’ sounds uncannily fit for Rydell High School. However, there’s also no avoiding the thought that this album, like the hypothetical modern-day Grease, is a poor, and rather boring imitation. Full of campy affectation presented with a shiny flourish, ‘Do Things’ is not fundamentally a bad album, but the constant happy-go-lucky nonsense, along with the un-imaginative songwriting, just seems a little contrived. It would be unfair to can this album entirely, but with nothing particularly believable here, ‘Do Things’ is hard to connect with and doesn’t seem to have enough substance. Maybe we preferred Dent May with the ukulele after all.

Tags: Dent May, Reviews, Album Reviews

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