DADA -- El Subliminoso (I.R.S.)

In 1992, Dada released their excellent debut, Puzzle (featuring the single, "Dizz Knee Land"). As a band, they were a tight trio with a variety of musical influences, and harmonized very well together. They really showed a lot of potential. Still, the best songs on the CD never got any airplay at all. In 1994, they released their sophomore effort, the disappointing American Highway Flower. There were a few good songs on it (like "Feel Me Don't You" and "Ask the Dust"), but it just didn't compare to Puzzle.

Cut to 1996. Dada recently released their third album, and they're back with a vengeance. The songs on El Subliminoso are more diverse than ever. When you listen to the new CD, you'll hear influences from The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Novo Combo, The Police, Jellyfish, U2 and a host of others - sometimes several within a single cut.

"Time is Your Friend" starts off the CD, sounding like a cross between Pink Floyd and Smashing Pumpkins. It begins quietly with Billy Corgan-ish vocals (without the whine) on top of Floydian guitars, then rocks out on the chorus with Jellyfish-like harmonies. From there, it moves into what could have easily been a song on an early Cheap Trick record, the rocking "Sick in Santorini". El Subliminoso is chock full of great tunes. One of the best is the cool, atmospheric ode to fledgling drummers everywhere - "Bob the Drummer".

Another great song on the new CD is "A Trip With My Dad". When I had the pleasure of seeing them perform live in May, drummer Phil Leavitt introduced it as being about "going on an acid trip with your father". Singer/bassist Joie Calio's bass line on the track is all over the place. "The Spirit of 2009" sounds a bit like Achtung Baby-era U2 (only better), and features some excellent percussion fills from Leavitt. Singer/guitarist Michael Gurley's fluid licks can be heard in just about every song on the disc. He plays the instrument effortlessly.

If something quieter is more your style, check out the two acoustic tracks - "Star You Are" and "No One". The delicate harmonies on the songs sound like a combination of Simon & Garfunkel and the Everly Brothers. No matter what kind of music you're into, there's something for everyone on El Subliminoso. The best thing about the CD is that the more you hear it, the better it gets.

© 1996 Steve Marshall