Reviews

Dios

There's a wondrous duality to the Southern California coastline. In the daytime, it's a carefree paradise of sand, surf, rays, and an endless loop of Beach Boys songs running through the mind. And at night, as bonfires and blankets dot the beaches, the same turf takes on expansive, reflective, near-mystical qualities. Indeed it is the edge of the world, and the next leap taken will land you in the cosmos.

The dusty country rock of Dios, which hails from Brian Wilson's hometown of Hawthorne, lies somewhere in between, nestled in the dreamy twilight when bronzing bodies make their retreat in the face of the inevitably ascending moon and stars. The quintet's captivating self-titled debut is kissed by the earthy influence of Neil Young and the Byrds, but the frequent addition of subtle electronics and found-sound textures lifts the band's astoundingly sweet harmonies and classic arrangements to the trippy experimental plane inhabited by Grandaddy, Wilco, and the Flaming Lips.

"Starting Five" draws manipulated bird chirps and happy playground shrieks into its breezy jangle-pop, while in "The Uncertainty," synths swoosh like the wind blows and murky voices add mystery to the swaying sock-hop slow dance vibe. Elsewhere, as on "50 Cents" and "You Got Me All Wrong," the band relies on simple components -- acoustic guitars, electric piano, and singer Joel Morales's wispy melodies and pensive lyrics -- to deliver equally hypnotic Pacific blues.

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Michael Alan Goldberg