steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Secret Dakota Ring

"Cantarell" CD

Serious Business Records

Genre: indie pop

Los Angeles, USA

Sep 29 2008

You can always count me in for a solid pop album, and Secret Dakota Ring, the solo project of OK Go's Andy Ross, delivers the goods. Cantarell is an infectious and exciting record, providing novelty with a variety of different sounds and song structures, but keeping things uniformly melodic throughout. The latest release out of the exciting Serious Business label, this also happens to be the best I've heard from them - pretty good news considering Andy Ross co-runs the imprint.

Cantarell sees Ross thread together nine very eclectic pop songs into one cohesive whole. On this disc, we get a real jumble of sounds: strings-augmented orchestral pop on "They Got the Wrong Guy," Man-Made era Teenage Fanclub cloning on "I Blew Myself Up Over You," and My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegaze on "Sell Us a Spaceship." Despite the songs' impressive variety, however, Cantarell is a remarkably together album - it has its own distinct and recognizable sound, which bodes well for repeated listens. Indeed, this album begs you to come back again, with an abundance of pop gems eager to hook you.

Enthralling "The Fade To Black" is the album highlight: a boppy rhythm is combined with piano and strings to create an insanely infectious pop song in the vein of The Meligrove Band. Also especially impressive are lush "Red Light" and wistful "Still Awake." The sore spots, meanwhile, are virtually non-existent on Cantarell. Although some songs aren't as memorable as others (especially the flat but brief "Elephants"), nothing here is disappointing in a general sense. Instead it seems as if Secret Dakota Ring's Andy Ross has created an absolute delight of a pop album; if intrepid OK Go fans are disappointed by the dissimilarity between this and "Here It Goes Again," they'll no doubt be won over by an otherwise great record.

SDR's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 5 tracks, distributed by the label, released Oct 28 2008]