Dignan - The Guest (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Guest (2007)

Bearded Beauty

McAllen, Texas's Dignan seem like they look way up north for inspiration from brash, acclaimed Canadian indie superstars like the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, but careful listens of The Guest EP will reveal different types of depths and influences that make for a compelling, impressive listen.

Dignan are never quite as gut-wrenching as 'em, but the wailing guitars making up their atmospheric instrumental work as well as their xylophone usage recalls the Pale Pacific. On top of that, when Andy Pena sings in a lower, somewhat gravelly tone (which is more often than not) it's rather akin to Jeremy Enigk in the context of his solo work. Both similarities sound striking and complementary against the band's otherwise incredibly original compositions, which tend to drift along very slowly, subtly building only to teasingly ending in an abrupt fashion. However, even when the band is plodding along for a long time -- like the eight-minute "Officer" -- you won't notice until it's nearly over; Heidi Plueger's airy voice plays well along Pena's and both push the song along somberly yet beautifully.

Some of the best moments come when all the members join for a group vocal, a gang shouting softly to provide a surprising dynamic to it all. In closer "Listen" they do it singing "so far away / but it's okay / because he's home [?]," which is wonderful and pulls in the listener as Plueger softly croons over it all.

Dignan provide a pleasant and curiously engaging listen with The Guest. It's a bit of a challenge to describe and equally difficult to take in, but once it's properly digested the value from such is worth the efforts.

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The Guest