Pitchfork: Dappled Cities are a mature band with a highly evolved sense of songcraft and arrangement. Aside from merely writing them, they know how to inhabit songs and make them breathe.
Filter: When the eclecticism of Clap Your Hands… meets the epic mindfuck of Arcade Fire — and it’s all fueled by Australia’s notoriously noxious spirit — all you can say is, “Duck.”
Spin: As stripped-down Dappled Cities instrumentation can get, Granddance swells with a full-bodied atmosphere that envelops every chord
Granddance is forever vacillating between kooky, electronic levity and low-fi texture, and contains traces of the Flaming Lips and Grandaddy and slight tresses of the Shins
When you listen to Dappled Cities you actually see things. Vivid colours, strange animals, story-book characters.
Itâ€™s as if a world that you didnâ€™t know existed, and all itâ€™s possibilities, is now within your grasp. Dappled Cities can take you there, as one respected reviewer put it, â€by weaving between grandiose indie-rock, oddly bent pop and big-emotion, big-gesture music that seems refracted through a vaguely hallucinogenic mirror.”
After 2 years of ludicrously intense international touring and songwriting, Dappled Cities prepare for the release of their 3rd album, the art pop opus, Zounds. The work is the highest achievement of a ten year career traced back from their current home on US indie label Dangerbird Records (also home of Silversun Pickups, Sea Wolf and Darker My Love) to the teenagers first playing music together in their Australian childhood suburbs.
The band, originally called Periwinkle, formed in 1997 when 15 year-olds David Rennick and Hugh Boyce were joined by Alex Moore and English born Tim Derricourt. Their first album, A Smile (released in 2004 under the new moniker – Dappled Cities Fly), was a home-recorded, independent hit in Australia, and its tracks were later remixed as A Crooked Smile EP by the likes of an emerging Wolfmother and Spod.
The bandâ€™s sophomore effort Granddance was a grandiose record full of oldeworld ideas and cutting-edge sonics (& their first platter on the Dangerbird label), which was uncoiled to mass acclaim in 2006. The following two years were spent touring the US with the likes of The Fratellis and Tokyo Police Club, with fiery forays home riding shotgun to silverchair, Modest Mouse and LCD Soundsystem.
Not many Australian bands attempt to face the US beast as head-on as Dappled Cities over this period, and almost inevitably the band experienced their first line-up change in a decade. Founding member Hugh Boyce retired and was replaced by Allan Kumpulainen on drums, while touring keyboardist Ned Cooke was instated as a full-time member.
â€œAfter Granddance, there were great expectations for Zounds â€“ from us and also from the US label. That pressure turned this into the longest and most intense episode of our life. We didnâ€™t cut corners and we went to great lengths to keep chaos developing.â€
Brimming with vim, road-fit and on the brink of something special, the band uprooted from their home of Sydney and got States-side. They shot videos in Wyoming gas stations, played impromptu gigs in South Dakota sound factories, partied with Hugh Jackman and Steve Malkmus and even managed to film a 26-episode childrenâ€™s odyssey for Disney called â€˜Alphabreaksâ€™.
New York was both Poison Apple and Forbidden Fruit, says Dave. â€œWe made the most of the $10-per-day budget, wall of Zounds we were on but there were five of us sleeping in a one-bedroom bed-sit in East Village and we finally turned to cash in hand street jobs to survive.â€
Under the expert A&R guidance of Justin Meldal-Johnsen (music director and bassist for Beck, Ladytron and Nine Inch Nails) and respected American co-producer Chris Coady (TV on the Radio), Dappled Cities got busy making mayhem and magic.