First things first: Troubadour Dali, St. Louis’ resident neo-shoegaze minstrels are in no way just now emerging from the underground grapevine. It’s impossible to deny the band’s local pedigree after pulling down a nomination for the Riverfront Times’ St. Louis Indie Band of the Year from 2009 to 2011 (and taking the gold in 2010). Let’s Make it Right, the group’s sophomore album, has been in transit since 2009 amid lineup changes and false starts but has finally dropped on Euclid Records and makes a strong case for the old adage that some things are worth waiting for.
The band, comprised of Kevin Bachmann, Ben Hinn, Drew Bailey, Benjamin Marsh and Andy Kahn, delivers with a sound that’s equal parts dynamic, jangly rhythms and deeply psychedelic melodies. They instantly bring such aesthetic forefathers as The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spaceman 3 to mind. However, it’s too simple, too inaccurate to throw Troubadour Dali into this box. Their music — and more specifically, Let’s Make it Right — is so consistently cohesive from track to track that the album becomes a relentlessly efficient piece of modern psychedellia.
Let’s Make it Right ebbs and flows between dreamy, syrupy vocals and soaring, psyched-out guitar leads drenched in the warmest organ this side of a southern church revival. This song melts through the speakers and oozes out the other end with enough space rock power to send you flying.
“The Prickly Fingers of Sante Muerte” is a razor sharp romp through a mind-bending haze of electric guitar fuzz and a handful of hot desert sand. “Pale Glow” exhibits what truly sets Let’s Make it Right apart from it’s shoegaze predecessors — the complex and glowing vocal harmonies add a completely new and bright dimension to the old space-rock drone.
Opening with a Doors-esque rolling guitar, “Pale Glow” quickly snowballs into a head-bobbing, fuzzed out cruise. Don’t miss the blistering guitar solo towards the end of the song. It’s the perfect combination of garage-inspired overdrive and super-slick groove.
Troubadour Dali isn’t shifting any paradigms or breaking any new ground with its newest album. Let’s Make It Right simply sets the bar ever so slightly higher for the rest of the band's St. Louis contemporaries. The melodies are sharper, the beats are more danceable and the vibe is fuzzier. If this is the end result after two years spent marinating its sound in a pressure cooker, then Troubadour Dali has stumbled onto a fantastic sonic recipe.