“I am looking for a dare-to-be-great situation”, states offbeat hero Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything“. In many ways, the Washington D.C.-based band Lloyd Dobler Effect are doing the same with their music and achieving impressive levels of success. They’ve performed more than 1,400 shows in 39 states and 14 countries (including three Armed Forces Entertainment Tours), were named Boru Vodka’s Defend the Bar Band winner, won the 99.1 WHFS Big Break Contest, and were voted one of the top ten best bands in the DC area in a Washington Post reader’s poll.
Just a few songs in, it is easy to see why this young band is earning so many accolades already. Their self-titled debut has been over 4 years in the making, but the results speak for themselves. The album bears the stamps of perfectionism and professionalism from start to finish – it is evident that lots of meticulous thought and attention to detail has gone into every single track. Lead singer Phil Kominsky’s tone has a Rob Thomas quality to it – a good mix of muscle and heart. His vocals are remarkably amenable to the diverse blend of rock and pop genres heard on this record. There’s a little something for everyone – modern rock, pop rock, pop, Latin, blue eyed soul, and alternative. But the one things these guys have that unifies the varying musical styles is a solid and memorable hook.
The first three tracks are outstanding pop rockers, belted out with the kind of confident swagger that you’d expect from a band much more seasoned than these guys. “Spain” sounds like what Maroon 5 would do with Santana – we hear some of this again on the genre-shifting opus, “Stranger”. “Release Me” and “The Past” and two more of the catchy, upbeat tracks that return to straight up pop rock, my preferred style. The disc closes with a streak of strong tunes right up my alley, such as the mid-tempo “Empty Reach”, the driving “Going Back To The End”, the attitude-laden “Harvard”, and rousing “I Have The Touch”.
Lloyd Dobler Effect have dared to be great in delivering their fresh blend of musical styles; their painstaking efforts in producing this excellent debut should pay off in high dividends. It won’t surprise me in the least if Lloyd Dobler Effect becomes a household name by the end of the year. Recommended if you like matchbox twenty, Seven and the Sun, O.A.R., and Maroon 5.
iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15