Personnel: Carly Comando, Tom Patterson (vocals, guitar, keyboards).
Recording information: Wassergass, PA (2015).
Photographer: David Brandon Geeting.
While Slingshot Dakota's musical formula may not have changed, the circumstances fueling the indie pop-punk duo's material has. Prior to recording their fourth LP, Break, singer/keyboardist Carly Comando and drummer/singer Tom Patterson eloped while on tour with fellow Pennsylvanians Title Fight, and their newfound marital status is one of the album's major themes. Years of touring and working creatively together can make or break a partnership, and Comando addresses the risks of growing even closer on the lovely title track. "And it's the kind of love that will make you break, but if it's worth enough it's a chance you take" she sings over the tones of glowing electric piano and cascading chimes on the dreamy closer. It's a nice comedown from an album that, even more so than 2013's Dark Hearts, champions the band's distinctive set-up of distorted keys and drums. Comando and Patterson's streamlined synergy works best on highlight tracks like "Monocacy" and the charming "Lewlyweds," a cleverly crafted recounting of the unexpected trials the couple faced when moving into their first bedbug-ridden apartment together. The familiar Slingshot Dakota approach remains relatively spare and upfront, especially on rockers like "You" and "Paycheck," though some of the pop-punk affectations of earlier releases seem to be ironing themselves out of the band's fabric. The production efforts of Todd Schied have resulted in a somewhat more robust sound, though his overall presence feels rather understated, as Comando and Patterson continue to do what they do, evolving subtly with each new release. ~ Timothy Monger