Record review: Danananakroyd – There is a Way Review

Lively Glasgow punk sextet Dananananaykroyd came lurching and screaming out of our speakers two years ago with their debut album Hey Everyone!, (and a few wonderful EP’s to boot) a pulsating, ampheteminefield of pop-punk numbers that found the band labelled ‘fight pop’. That record, recorded Stateside, led to a frenzied performance before ten thousand on the Radio1/NME stage at Reading Festival and a pair of pins being inserted in co-frontman John Baillie Junior’s arm (after a misjudged leap off stage at a concert in Sydney).

 

Sophomore effort There Is A Way sees the band picking up where they left off, with jaunty, quick-fire punk-pop tunes that sit – no, squirm – somewhere between System of a Down and Los Campesinos! The album, recorded in L.A. and produced by the ‘Godfather of Nu-Metal’, Ross Robinson (Korn, Vanilla Ice, The Cure: go figure), sees the band expand their sound minimally, albeit perceptibly, with cleaner shifts and a sharpness that was not evident on the first record; where it was febrile, this LP sounds like the band have been combating their symptoms, albeit at a low dosage – the breakneck energy remains, and opener ‘Reboot’ is a as joyous and jangling an indie record as you’re likely to hear all year.

‘All Us Authors’ samples crowd noises, sounding very much like a live rendition, which captures the group’s amity with its audience. And that is the thing that is both positive and negative about Dananananaykroyd – they sound very much unique, though a little too much like an untidy palette of two styles intertwined; punk/scream fans may consider them too poppy, while indie fans may opt for the more subtle, but rhapsodic sounds of, say, Klaxons or The Cribs. But do Dananananaykroyd care? Hell no, and soon the listener doesn’t either, ‘E Numbers’ a slipshod, genre-shifting anthem with a sing along chorus.

‘Think and Feel’ is the highlight of the album’s first half, with the band sounding pleasantly mischievous (“Think I’ll go outside/ for a beer! For a beer!”) against a backdrop of heavy, crunching guitars.

By the time the album rolls into its second half, one can’t help but wish for a little more. The ear almost longs for a mandolin, so assaulted it has been by the relentlessly punchy hooks delivered in the previous eighteen minutes. It is like the band deem their energy sacrosanct, and are hesitant even to relinquish for a moment the joie-de-vivre that is their lifeblood, though ‘Apostrophe’ is a step in the right direction, a rough gem of a pop-rock tune slow enough for the listener to actually hear the lyrics – imagine! – and more frequent changes of pace could have made this record even better, though as it is it’s difficult to argue with songs that keep the head nodding.

Arguably better – certainly firmer, in places – than their spontaneous debut, Dananananaykroyd have produced an enjoyably turbocharged – albeit one-paced – punk-pop record that will please their loyal and colourful following to no end, while just keeping them out of the limelight. That said, the band are luminous enough, bright enough, to burn away right into the night.

Words: Ronnie McCluskey

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