So Many Dynamos - Flashlights (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

So Many Dynamos

Flashlights (2006)


My memory vaguely recalls So Many Dynamos playing slightly electro-tinged, heart-on-the-sleeve indie pop only a couple years ago. So you can imagine it was a bit surprising when, in a still-the-black-sheep slot opening for HORSE the Band in Brooklyn I watched the high-energy band thrash about wildly on stage to more intense, complex and completely bugged out indie pop/rock songs. Once I was settled into the spastic, compelling set, my full impression was that of...impressiveness, really.

So Many Dynamos' compatriot to their live show, their 2006 full-length Flashlights, is one of last year's overlooked gems. If you're looking for an album full of keyboard-induced, incredibly fun, quirky and creative indie pop/rock not unlike Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! and Dismemberment Plan, you'll hit the mark right here.

Opener "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning" opens building subtly enough. Then, Flashlights' most memorable number, "Search Party" is next, and it's pushed along by a wacky, brass-fueled bridge and should have anyone chanting "there will be no search party for us" the rest of their day upon listening. "Progress" is rhythmic and stomping while Aaron Stovall's oddly robotic delivery -- Morrison, table of 4 -- complements the whole thing. With the early Motion City Soundtrack/Minus the Bear smashup "Home Is Where the Box Wine Is," you begin to realize just how hyperactive So Many Dynamos are, and it's a trait that stays fairly consistent throughout. However, "How High the Moon" offers a nice reprieve, until it picks up in the last minute of course.

Flashlights' second half isn't nearly as good, but it still has its moments. "We Vibrate, We Do" wields manic guitars and a repetitive, frantic chant of the song title, while "In Our Sleep" is a complex, multi-part creation replete with modest horns, interplaying guitars, and a softly sung chorus from a 30-member choir you can hear chattering amongst prior to their finishing delivery.

I've been meaning to obtain So Many Dynamos' music for a couple years now, so while it's funny that attempt has taken so long the band has undergone a fairly drastic stylistic makeover in that time (if I'm sane), I definitely don't mind the product I'm given. Flashlights is a surprise in more ways than one and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Search Party
We Vibrate, We Do