Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Patterns EP review



written by
John Hanson

John Hanson aka Johnny Rooftop is a musician and writer based in Boston. John has been focusing on his writing, performing, recording and sound engineering. Follow John on Twitter @johnnyrooftop, or visit john-hanson.com to stay up to date on all his projects.

Indie pop tweekers from Detriot, Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein keep the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. hype alive with the upbeat Patterns EP, their second major label release.  The four songs that make up Patterns represent the duo’s ability to creatively mix excellent production and an all-out dance party.  Their vibrant pop-songs tend to provide extra surprises in every bar, making for eclectic combinations that keep listeners anxious.  The vibe of Patterns is ultimately a dance-able blend of pop styles with a disposition of fun.

From the acoustic guitars that begin “If You Didn’t See Me (You Weren’t On the Dance Floor),” you are pulled in to the Patterns experience.  As the song falls into its groove and hits the chorus, you begin to realize Dale Earnhardt Jr.Jr. are not kidding about tearing up the dance floor.  Upbeat production and effects pump through the downbeats, proving Zott and Epstein came to party and we should expect a good time.

On “Dark Waters,” DEJJ show their depth by stretching the listener’s imagination.  As the bass grooves, eerie whistling and light chimes sit on top of the mix as a spacey synthesizer plays call and response with the vocals. Some well-placed harmonies in the chorus accentuate their songwriting. There are some bold creative choices in this track, which are pulled off with grace. An interesting dynamic can be found between the happy vibes from light melodies in the chorus and the evidence of somber-ness of the vocals: “Baby you were always drowning, and you just now realize…”

Ironically, “Hiding” sounds more like a bold announcement that Jr. Jr. is coming out to play. Distorted effects and guitar samples bounce off the walls and the dance party is kept alive. Saxophones and cheers back up the heavy beat and glitch-stop groove. Head bopping is inevitable. Finally, the work is pulled together when their acoustic folk chant meets a neo-tribal beat on “Habits.” Harmonies and reverb that could fill an airfield garage are grounded by positive and thoughtful lyrics: “If there’s life, let it shine.”

For the home recording gurus that are well on their way, Patterns EP is a nice tease for their full-length album due out this summer, “The Speed of Things.” Their indie pop party music has obviously progressed from their breakout album “It’s a Corporate World (2011).” Following the release of the vinyl for the “Patterns EP” on record store day, April 20th, DEJJ embarked on a small spring tour throughout the U.S.  Fans should remain excited for even more to come from this creative duo. After all, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr are certainly supplying the grooves to hang on the dance floor all night, and they expect to see you there.


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