The Dalloways? California Dreampop at its finest. Think The Smiths meets Belle and Sebastian meets The Doves, and you're halfway to understanding these sometimes moody, often upbeat dreamers.
Fans of Coldplay, Travis, New Order, Belle and Sebastian, Kings of Convenience, The Red Housepainters, The Smiths, The Divine Comedy, The Doves, and Grandaddy among others, will appreciate Dalloways music.
Penalty Crusade has consistently ranked at the top of the CD Baby editor's picks for California Pop and Brit Pop. Track to track, the listener moves through powerfully quiet moments like "Elected to Tell You" and the title track, to silky smooth, synth-laden tunes like "Cotty's House" (reminiscent of Flaming Lips), and finally to big crescendo flashes of pretty distortions and delays like "Marriage Arranged" and "Clarissa, Dear."
Here's what critics have to say:
"Like a casually gorgeous waitress serving Sunday afternoon coffee, The Dalloways serve up pretty California dream-pop delicacies on Penalty Crusade." - Billy Gil, Splendid
"[The Dalloways] reach for Brit Pop and manage to find the sweet ether where California coolness ends and the emotional reverb of '80s British rockers begins." - Danielle Belton, Spin Zone Music Reviews
"The musical arrangements are rich and are so beautifully put together that I hear something new every time I listen. I highly recommend this album." - Jesse Rivera, Planet of Sound
"Gerhard Enns' ability to talk about relationships in a song like he's talking about your own horrid pitfalls is purely magical." - N. L. Belardes, Skeleton Head Reviews
"With top British influences such as The Smiths and Prefab Sprout, The Dalloways have definitely managed to create a style that includes both an atmospheric collage of musical elements and great songwriting." - Raina LeGaretta, Souls and Sounds
The Dalloways are storytellers, and underlying the beauty of the sound are strong narratives full of characters attempting to find their own ways for themselves: a down-and-out Olympic figure skater seeking lost love; a brother running from family and friends and making his own way in New York; lovers on the Metro feeling the separateness of their fractured relationship. Each song carries a tenderness and pain tempered with the possibility of reconciliation, of making it out, of finding love again.
The group is fronted by singer/songwriter Gerhard Enns, who, despite growing up in the agricultural community of California's Central Valley, coveted the great British pop/poet bands of the 80's and 90's in his youth. Enns lists among his early influences Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout, Morrissey of The Smiths, Paul Heaton of Housemartins and Beautiful South fame, and Nick Laird-Clowes of The Dream Academy, all songwriter's that share an affinity for merging style and substance together into enjoyable and moving pop songs. In songwriters, Enns says he admires most "a sense of playfulness and humor and subtlety . . . and an ability to say something truly touching through a pop tune."
Penalty Crusade was self produced by the band, with producer and drummer Aaron Wall of Royal Dutch Company Studios at the helm. Simply put, The Dalloways got it right. Audiophiles, take note: you will appreciate the subtle production touches and inlays that begin to appear with each pass: a shy guitar lick here, subtle percussion touch there, and playful harmonies throughout. Listen with headphones for a stereophonic experience.
Regarding production, Enns says, "The goal was to create songs that become richer and richer the more one listens to them." Wall concurs: "Each listen should bring out more of the subtle beauty of the song. That's what we were trying to do here-create songs that get better with age."
For mastering (the final necessary sheen of all professionally produced albums), the group sent PC to the best in the business: Bernie Grundman Studios (Morrissey, No Doubt, Beck, Blondie, Bowie, Beastie Boys, this studio's credits go on and on). The final product is a gorgeous, professionally produced and mastered album.
- C. Darling for CD Baby