Oct 9, 2013 at 11:29 am

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr

The Speed Of Things

Warner Bros


Like a 007 film, we gotta get that name out of the way. This local duo could care less if you snicker at their silly, double-suffixed name, they’re too busy trying to keep up with the dizzying instantaneousness of a post-Internet music world. The joke’s on you, actually, if you can’t get past their name. If you’re still listening, you’re rewarded with two crafty songwriting minds (Detroit-area natives Daniel Zott and Josh Epstein) audibly reverent for proven masters of experimental pop (from Brian Wilson to Paul Simon) and applying stirring melodies and lush harmonies atop whizzing synthesizers, playful rototoms and a swirl of other atmospheric effects fuzzed around the backbeat of their danceable rhythms and delicately distorted guitars.

It’s a jumble of flavors, somewhat more summery than the chilled October winds might accommodate. DEJJ like sandwiching the organic (acoustic guitars and live drum kits) with synthetic (drum machines, samplers, synths); unabashedly shaving some dancey 80’s cheese onto the toastier slices of groovy 60’s psyche-pop and then slotting it into the genre-defiant microwave of the post-Internet era of art-rock. Not that it’s entirely anything goes, obviously, as these two are, at heart, songwriters, much more than their clownishly winking bandname might mislead you. They display a keen focus on harmony, melody, and a particular groove for each track, carefully arranging showers of synthetic strings and buzzy reverberations, funky bass licks and surfy guitar riffs, and bumping things along to a steadily shimmying beat. Fans of sleek and chic electro-pop stylists like Phoenix or Passion Pit can find their footing here, just as old fashioned Graceland fans might enjoy a couple of their jams. Their thesis, that the Internet’s spun our orbit into a disorienting velocity, leaves them no recourse but to just go with what feels right, no matter how daring, old fashioned or funny it might sound on paper.