DIG IT! N° 62

DIG IT! N° 61


The dB's - Neverland

The dB's  Neverland  CD  1996
Black And White / Dynamite / She's Not Worried / The Fight / Espionage / Tearjerking' / Baby Talk / Cycles Per Second / Bad Reputation / Big Brown Eyes / I'm In Love / Moving In You Sleep / Judy / Happenstance / We Were Happy There / Living A Lie / From A Window To A Screen / Ask For Jill / Amplifier / Soul Kiss / Neverland / Storm Warning / Ups And Downs / Nothing Is Wrong / In Spain / I Feel Good (Today).
Tracks 1-13: "Stands For Decibels" (1981) Produced by Alan Betrock
Tracks 14-26: "Repercussion" (1982) Produced by Scott Litt

The dB's: Gene Holder: bass / Will Rigby: drums / Chris Stamey: guitar, vocals, keyboards / Peter Holsapple: guitar, vocals, keyboards.

Playing sharp, tuneful songs with a hint of psychedelia and some challenging melodic angles, the dB's were the band that bridged the gap between classic '70s power pop (defined by bands such as Big Star, Badfinger, and the Scruffs) and the jangly new wave of smart pop, personified by R.E.M. And while the dB's spent the bunk of their career living and working on the East Coast, they were the among the first and most important representatives of the Southern branch of the new wave; most of the group's members hailed from North Carolina, bringing a Southern warmth to music that sometimes sounded cold and spare in the hands of others.

While the latter-day dB's releases -- the ones released after Chris Stamey left the group -- were all good, sometimes great, jangly power pop, it was the early Stamey/Holsapple years that made them truly memorable. Neverland is a two-fer that collects the entirety of the first two dB's albums, Stands for Decibels and Repercussion, onto a single disc along with one bonus track each. The quality of the Stamey/Holsapple dynamic is spelled out here: Peter Holsapple's more straight-ahead pop gems alternate with the paranoid, quirky Stamey tracks and, while the differences can be difficult to digest at first, the undeniable hookiness in all the material makes this accessible even to non-fans. In the 18 years between the original issue of these albums and this reissue, the music has barely aged: "Amplifier" sounds as radio-ready as ever, and Stamey's Beach Boys-esque pastiche, "She's Not Worried," still sounds current. The two bonus tracks -- "Baby Talk" and "Soul Kiss" -- are a bit more chaotic than the albums themselves, but are fitting additions nonetheless. The music of the dB's was never really in or out of style, but the fractured, spontaneous brand of pop on their first two albums has proven to be the blueprint for many to follow. Although available only as a German import, the collection is budget-priced, putting this great music at the fingertips of fans. Allmusic

On their debut, the dB's combined a reverence for British pop and arty, post-punk leanings that alternate between minimalism and a love of quirky embellishment, odd sounds, and unexpected twists; Stands for Decibels is clearly a collegiate pop experiment, but rarely is experimentation so enjoyable and irresistibly catchy. Singing and songwriting duties are shared equally by Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple -- Stamey, more quirky and psychedelic-leaning with a winsome, pure-pop whine, is nicely balanced by Holsapple's more earthy drawl and straightforward approach. The album stands not only as a landmark power-pop album, but also as a prototype for much of the Southern jangle that would follow. [Stands for Decibels remained criminally unavailable in the U.S. for years. When IRS reissued it on CD in 1989, Holsapple's "Judy" was added as a bonus track.] Allmusic

Repercussion is very much of a piece with the debut, repeating much of the same formula that made Stands for Decibels great -- terrific harmonies, winning melodies, and catchy hooks with subtle quirks thrown into the mix. This time, they feature a fuller, more polished sound, but the impact of the songs isn't diminished. Stamey left shortly after Repercussion to pursue a solo career. ["pH Factor" was added as a bonus track to the IRS CD reissue in 1989.] Allmusic
Thanks a lot to Ratboy66 for the friendly upload !!!