Label: Topshelf Records
Released: 11th March 2016
Bethlehem, PA’s Slingshot Dakota are somewhat of a rarity. Not-really-punk-but-totally-punk; playing piano-driven indie pop songs to punk and hardcore fans, sitting somewhere between Tigers Jaw and Death Cab For Cutie.
‘Break’ follows a four-year gap since their last record, 2012’s ‘Dark Hearts’. A lot has happened since then. Firstly, the two-piece, made up of vocalist and pianist Carly Comando and drummer Tom Patterson, eloped in Las Vegas whilst on tour with Title Fight, with the band as witnesses.
‘Break’ sounds like a heartfelt documentation of the band’s progression during those four years. Both thematically and musically, it is consuming, whole, and utterly gorgeous. It sounds like falling in love, with real, grown up commitment to a shared life of making records and being on the road.
From the punchy melody of the opening notes in ‘You’, to the build and intensity of the keys in ‘Stay’, as satisfying as any guitar, ‘Break’ is a great piece of storytelling. Standout track ‘Lewlyweds’ is a brilliantly catchy take on the disaster of the band’s first apartment as a married couple, admirably optimistic in the face of bad sleeping arrangements and awful neighbours.
Between records, the band also quit their day jobs to become a full-time gig. Over fuzzy keys, ‘Doreen’ is the sharp dive of going all in on a creative endeavour, which continues throughout hugely danceable single ‘Paycheck’, the energetic drumbeat signalling the confidence of being able to make it all work out.
“We’re working paycheck to paycheck / I know that it’s hard sometimes.”
The more profound and delicate moments of ‘Break’ culminate in the title track, closing with unbearably lush vocals, and the final commitment, “And in the end it’s two of us / It was always two of us.” Kristy Diaz