The Dopamines / Till Plains - Split [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Dopamines / Till Plains

Split [7 inch] (2009)

It's Alive / Soapy Hand

After releasing one of the best and most promising debuts of last year, the Dopamines return with the A side of this split. Their first song, "Car Trouble" follows in the tracks that their debut left. It's a somewhat slow but upbeat (music-wise) song with lyrics about drinking. The first verse drags along until it reaches the catchy, sing-along chorus. It's nothing new for them but I was impressed with the basslines. It didn't just emulate the guitar riff, which is an all-too-common trend. The next song, "You Must Be Joking" does cover new ground for rhe Dopamines. The song starts off with a folky verse, with its acoustic guitar and meandering vocals. There isn't an appearance of an electric guitar until the 45-second mark. The song continues on with the electric guitar but still has some folk influence, especially with its chorus. The song returns to just the vocals and acoustic guitar as it closes. This is a welcome experiment by the Dopamines, and is the better song of the two. I hope to see more songs in this vein in the future.

I had not heard of Till Plains before this split. Apparently, they've only released an EP before this (it's up for free download on their MySpace). Once the needle hit the grooves of the B side, I was caught off guard. As with It's Alive's earlier releases, I was expecting more infectious pop-punk, just as the Dopamines supplied on the A side. I was not expecting a lo-fi post-hardcore band (though there is some pop-punk influence, for good measure). The opening bassline explodes into a slightly distorted, uneven guitar riff. The chorus supplies some yelling with backing vocals and faster vocals. The song has its ups and downs and changes pace frequently but never awkwardly. This song was a pleasant surprise, and it's probably my favorite on the split. The upbeat "Bitter Innards" is really uptempo, slowing down as the song ends. They show more indie and punk influence in this song.

Both sides are strong but they have their flaws. Both "Car Trouble" and "Bitter Innards" go on longer than they should. Both sides are solid but I'd probably have to choose the Till Plains side over the Dopamines one. I really enjoyed this intro to Till Plains. However, I could see some people not being into them, especially if you bought the 7" for the Dopamines side.

The Dopamines' MySpace page
Till Plains' MySpace page
Soapy Hand Records' MySpace page