Diary... Turning over a new leaf
Review: The D.O.T. – Diary
Published on May 10th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
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Diary is the second album in consecutive years from The D.O.T., namely Robert Harvey, formerly of The Music, and Mike Skinner of/aka The Streets. That they aren’t the most obvious of bedfellows is further complicated by the fact that the sounds they make together generally bear little resemblance to either of their prior works (bar maybe “Dry Your Eyes”), but we have to say that the well of cynicism we approached this with was made to look rather foolish by a bang-up set of pop songs.
“Don’t Look at the Road” is a decent stodgy ballad, “Blood, Sweat and Tears” well-crafted classic soul, and the album goes from strength to strength from thereon in. Skinner turns in an arrestingly tender lead vocal on “How We All Lie” then chips in with some gorgeous, doleful harmonies on the Harvey-handled chorus, while his playful delivery of “Walking under a ladder / Talking under the clatter / Walking under a ladder / Damn you!” adds an extra dimension to the heartfelt “Under a Ladder”. It feels worlds away from Original Pirate Material and A Grand Don’t Come for Free, not to mention the immense swagger that Harvey fronted so commandingly with The Music.
Vocoder is successfully slipped into the sleek house-pop of “Makers Mark”, “Left at the Lights” has a lovely, bittersweet skip to it, and then proceedings take a turn for the clubby on the excellent “Wherever You May Be”. “Most of my time is spent thinking about the past” from “Most of My Time” is an obvious stick with which to beat The D.O.T. should you feel so inclined, but this would be somewhat churlish in the face of its shuffling nocturnal groove and sassy applications of brass.
Skinner further evidences his matured lyricism with “What am I supposed to do with this news? / Where shall I point my old, weathered shoes?” on “What Am I Supposed to Be?”, leaving it to another pertinent question – namely “How Hard Can It Be?” – to bring down the curtain on a reflective yet sunnily disposed note, its satisfying soul sound concealing a reference to “the emperor’s fucking clothes” about its person. The doubt-inviting premise of The D.O.T. dictates that it probably won’t get the credit it deserves, so we’re pleasantly surprised to inform you that it’s well worth a spin or two this summer.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!
Diary is out now on Cooking Vinyl.
For more information, please visit The D.O.T.’s official website.