There is a liveliness and a whimsy in Dappled Cities' sophomore album "Granddance." From the playful falsetto vocals that so frequently float over the shrill melodies which soar throughout most of the album, the Australian band are indie pop that brings to mind The Decemberists. What is more, the band can boast that former Grandaddy guitarist, now All Smiles frontman, Jim Fairchild and Peter Walker produced "Granddance" along with Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Tom Waits). Talk about some indie rock namedropping.
All through "Granddance," it is difficult not be taken by Tim Derricourt's vocals as he carefully plays with the lyrics, letting his lightly British accent come through in his pronunciation. It is the character his voice adds, such as slipping in and out of singing in falsetto, that puts a special twist on the songs. This is best seen on "Watercourse" where Derricourt's strong vocals dominate the slow and melodic song. The dour mood and mid tempo of "Work It Out" hints at The Smiths while the bouncing "Colour Coding" reminds of David Bowie with its passionate chorus before a smooth keyboard solo kicks in. Elsewhere, Dappled Cities come across as extremely likable with "Fire Fire Fire," the light instrumentation pounding relentlessly.
Dappled Cities are elegant as they eagerly present "Granddance." But one wonders if they might be holding themselves back as they seemingly trying so hard to remain concise and consistent. Remaining engaging and dynamic with each song, "Granddance" never sags as there is always another gentle melody to keep you flying or another steady drumbeat to keep you in step.