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Dune Rats – Smile EP review

The eccentric, Brisbane-based duo Dune Rats comprised of front man and vocalist Danny Beus and drummer BC Michaels recently released their third EP, “Smile.”Stylistically identical to their 2011 EP “Social Atoms,” “Smile” is comprised of high energy fuzz rock with a slight detour into garage surf pop. Each of the five tracks features upbeat guitar lines which, when paired with a heavy dosage of drums from Michaels and Beaus’s outlandish lyrics, makes for an EP full of catchy summer albums guaranteed to (hence the title) make you smile.

A vocal-heavy album, rare are the moments when Beaus’s voice isn’t the most engaging characteristic of the song. His boisterous, in-your-face vocal stylings, which are featured on nearly every second of the disc, pair well with the album’s laid back “I don’t care what you think of me” mantras, such as “You’ll never like us cause we’re so lame, we’ll never like you cause you’re so vain” (on “Red Light, Green Light:) and “Just hangin’ out, drinking Coca-Cola, I took some drugs and now I’m getting smaller” (on “Stoner Rock”).

On the other side of the lyrical spectrum, “F**ck It,” which verges on emotional, is about letting go of people who bring you down: “You never say you’re wrong, fuck it.” Ranging from lighthearted and carefree to angry and detached, each track on “Smile” sticks with a distinct, overlying theme: be happy, be yourself, and ignore anyone who has a problem with it.

Dune Rats clearly applies this philosophy to their music-making, a refreshing contrast to the overwrought nature of many up and coming musicians. Beaus and Michaels are not out to try and impress anyone; they keep it simple, sticking with basic, repeated rhyme schemes and staying away from any kind of rhythmic or vocal intricacies (the most vocal complexity comes at “All You Do”, which features light vocal harmonizing).

Though “Smile” may lack depth and variety as a result of their taking this approach, Dune Rats has accomplished what they set out to do: lighthearted and fun, their music is an honest portrayal of how much they love what they do. With “Smile,” they have delved further into a medium of music that works for them, and they have more than happy to stick to just that. But don’t expect these guys to adhere to anyone else’s standards but their own.

By Rachel Kassenbrock

Rachel is a writer living in Los Angeles. She loves dogs, being outside, and all things coffee-related.

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