Dikembe - Broad Shoulders [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Broad Shoulders [12-inch] (2012)

Tiny Engines

Gainesville's Dikembe offer a nice take on the indie/punk scene and while their debut full-length proves short, it falls nothing short of sweet. Steven Gray proves strong on vocals and helps out on the guitars with Ryan Willems helping craft and refine their sound. Fans of Joyce Manor, All Get Out and the Menzingers would definitely get a kick out of this record.

"Apology Not Accepted" and "We Could Become River Rats" are some of the payoffs here as the quartet mesh well with Kenny Jewett's bass and David Bell's drums rounding out the lineup. The band takes a chance with a few subtle experimental alterations and bravado in their songs, which are pretty well differentiated from each other. It even reminds me a bit of the versatility found in very old school stuff from Brand New, Weatherbox or Vendetta Red. Somehow, there's a nice '90s alternative feel thrown in, as "I Just Don't Understand What All These Kids Dig About Him" shows.

"Not Today Angel" distinguishes that sweet, softer spin on things and as a first-time listener of this band, this record proved a pleasant and welcome surprise. "The room was shifting / In that little place called home / Without me in it" classifies the depressed yet charmed tone found in bits and pieces on the album. It's hard to pinpoint an offkey song on the LP and that kind of musical resilience is hard to find these days, but if you think I'm overrating here...take a listen and see for yourself.

My only issue is that some of the much more solid songs like "That's How What Works" and "I'm Gonna Deck Your Halls, Bub" could have done with some expansion as they presented a lot of potential to sound even better, and they already were friggin awesome. This album ends very strongly and it builds to the end like a crescendo with its pace and its cutting loose, which seemed the perfect recipe for Dikembe's attempt to sucker-punch you into liking their record. It really hit the mark. Simply...brilliant!