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The Dunwells: Lucky Ones [EP]

Album Notes

The Americana influences that marked the first album by the Dunwells (titled Blind Sighted Faith in the U.K., and released in the U.S. in revised form as Follow the Road) have faded into the background on their follow-up EP, 2015's The Lucky Ones, but their knack for rich vocal treatments hasn't changed. The title cut, whose cool, polished surfaces suggest an especially well-scrubbed version of Coldplay, fuses electronics with guitars as the passionate vocals of Joseph Dunwell soar over it all, and though the results play to the dramatic side of the scale, there's no denying the strength of the craft. ("She Whispers" follows a similar path with even greater success.) The expert harmonies on "Was It All Worth It" recall the sound of the Dunwells' earlier work, but the tune is cleaner, neater, and more streamlined, showing the group had no problem adapting their skills to adult alternative pop. And the keyboards and drum boxes on "Animal" demonstrate how much the band and producer James Flannigan can build out of simple elements. Joseph Dunwell and his bandmates David Dunwell (guitar and vocals), Rob Clayton (bass and vocals), and Adam Taylor (drums and vocals) are clearly aiming for something that will sound bigger on radio and help fill larger venues, but they've transitioned into their new sound with confidence and no small skill, and the product is certainly competitive with their better-known peers. Fans of the rootsy side of the Dunwells might not be as enthusiastic about The Lucky Ones as they were for their previous recordings, but the Dunwells seem to know what they're doing, and the results are clever and well executed throughout. ~ Mark Deming



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