Track By Tracks: Dakar - Say It Again (2023)

1. Not Gonna Be Yo Sucka:

“Not Gonna Be Yo Sucka” is the rousing opening anthem of the album Say It Again, a dont-take-shit-from-nobody call to arms that appeals to the listener’s sense of purpose (what will inspire you/to fight for which you stand?/is it for power/or to serve your fellow man?”) to rally to challenge the forces that have convinced people to fight amongst one another. The song opens with thunderous toms from drummer Luke Jean, followed by the first of many overdriven, power chord riffs by guitarists David Benfield and Darrell Edmunds. While Edmunds’ vocals run point on this track, the harmonies and balance with Benfield settle in quickly and remain throughout the LP. “NGBYS” crescendoes into the crowd chant of the song’s namesake, setting a high bar that Dakar hits like a proverbial cowbell from track to track.

2. Chase Scene:

A hook-driven ode to racing that hearkens to the band’s namesake, “Chase Scene” mixes a hard-charging rhythm riff, bending lead guitar elements and soaring, swooning vocal melodies with lyrical imagery that dares the listener to “catch me if you can”. The band expands its sound with a dreamy wah pedal-filled interlude and vocal ranges that push the boundaries of the band’s previous work.

3. Say It Again:

While it may have been a last-minute addition to the album, Say It Again’s title track serves as an excellent microcosm for the band’s sound. Driving rhythms, powerful hooks, and towering vocals; Say It Again checks all of the boxes of an epic rock song. “I Said it once, you can say it again!”

4. Over the Line:

With no-frills, straight-to-the-point rock riffs, and anthemic hooks, “Over the Line” describes a long view into a dystopian future resulting from acceptance of the overreach by powerful authoritarian forces into the rights and lives of everyone. The imagery of the lyrics couples with a pogo-inducing backbeat to produce chant-worthy refrains and the timeless feel of a foot-stomping hard rock romp.

5. Come and Get It:

One of the first releases by Dakar from their initial EP, “Come and Get It” is a frenetic mini-medley within one composition. The twists and turns reflect a foray into the bases songwriters David Benfieldand Darrell Edmunds covered in their guitar-focused, rock-forward sound. The lyrics are an appeal to the attraction of the speaker’s love interest, a flirty missive backed by raucous guitar hooks and chants.

6. Ronnie Jean:

Inspired by a trip to Ireland and fueled by Southern roots, Ronnie Jean is the story of two childhood misfits that grow into lifelong friends. The bouncing rhythms and chord progression are youthful and ambitious, while the chorus is an infectious sing-along that’ll have even the most serious of cynics tapping their feet.

7. Clutches:

Dakar takes a respite from pumping the hard rock for “Clutches”, an off-beat off-ramp that features the bass work of Alejandro Soto under the surfy guitar color by Edmunds and Benfield. Edmunds’ vocals denote the despair of a lover who belatedly realizes it’s over. The fatalistic tone stands in contrast to the band’s usual high-energy optimism but hints at the depth still to come as the band releases more work.

8. Grab Your Reigns:

Uplifting, powerful riffs complement the inspiring lyrics on Grab Your Reigns. With its straightforward hooks and dynamic harmonies, Grab Your Reigns is the perfect song to boost self-confidence or inspire that extra push to conquer your dreams. “You can be who you want to be, it’s up to you to decide.”

9. Reason:

It shouldn’t take listeners long to get a sense of Dakar’s penchant for bouncing between decades of guitar ethos - sometimes, in the same song. Such is the case with “Reason”, a cautionary love tale combining vocal hooks with shapeshifting sounds that could be placed in 70s punk, 80s glam, or 90s alternative. With a lyrical theme of wisdom, after love lost, the band’s writing reflects a certain maturity - or, at least, the scars of hard lessons.

10. Animal:

Dakar doesn’t shy away from social commentary, and “Animal” fits comfortably in the catalog of tracks that delve into the uncomfortable - in this case, domestic violence. Drummer Luke Jean’s old-school punk beat leads the song into Darrell Edmunds’ radiant lead guitar hooks. Edmunds’ harmonies with fellow guitarist and vocalist David Benfield stand out as part of the band’s consistent sound throughout the ebb and flow of the album’s genre influences.

11. Projection:

This no-frills kick to the earworm machine wastes no time eviscerating the subject of the song as a malignant narcissist (sometimes when you’re fucking with my head/I must remind myself not to believe a word you said/accusing me instead/of killing all the skulls under your bed) before delving into the group’s go-to vocal harmonies that evoke thoughts of mid-90s new-school punk.

12. Escape From New York:

“Escape” was written as a reflection of Benfield’s homesickness while living in Brooklyn, New York. Fed up with snow in April and nowhere to stretch his legs, he packed his guitars and dog into his car and set off for home. Powering guitars, raw vocals, and southern undertones paint a clear picture “I can see it in my mind’s eye, I’m kicked back, drinking water from my spring.”

13. Empire Dreams:

What happens when democracy gives way to autocracy and fascism? When capitalism is left unfettered? You start having empire dreams… With its blues-derived riffs, screaming guitars, and Dakar’s punk rock DNA, Empire Dreams dives into the dark possibilities of what happens when we stop fighting for what’s right, and let plutocrats and oligarchs take total control.

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