The Proclivities' Handguns and Dancing Shoes | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

The Proclivities' Handguns and Dancing Shoes 

(self-released)

  Listen up!   If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player.

click to enlarge 6.11musreview_proclivities.gif

Both the 2006 debut and a full-length score released last year by Raleigh's The Proclivities hinged on indecision and redirection. Frontman Matt Douglas is a classical composer turned pop-rock singer-songwriter, and, as his résumé suggests, he seems perpetually in search of some unidentified equilibrium. Whether falling out of love or into infatuation, Douglas is a playfully serious seeker, the sort who pontificates out loud in sinuous verses and charming choruses. His backing band—local jazz and cross-over gems Matt McCaughan, Chris Boerner, Nic Slaton—underpins the flux: They're as capable of backing Douglas' sweet acoustic reflections as they are muscling his more angular electric verdicts.

Through a series of loving-or-leaving pronouncements, The Proclivities' second proper full-length, Handguns and Dancing Shoes, documents Douglas' duals better than ever before. Together, these 10 tracks work as a dynamic musical and lyrical portrait of Douglas as he deals with a lover and with himself: He refers to himself as a charlatan during a splendid duet, as honest-to-a-fault during a breakup scene, and as a fool during the closer. On "Luckiest Man," he wishes for "the blackest heart," so hurting her wouldn't hurt him, though he later tells her to find somebody who cares more than he does. But by record's end, he wants her back, even if it means he's crazy. The band mostly paints these predicaments with seamless, brisk bounce.

The Proclivities' only missteps come at the heavier end of its sound: "Last Companion" opens through a spree of guitar noise before locking its rhythms in a sort of thin, dance-punk understatement. Manipulated and bedraggled by effects, Douglas' voice sounds like a perfectly good square disguising itself as a circle. At least on "Elephant," he sounds like himself, though the band's half-reggae, half-cabaret jerk feels stiff and clumsy.

But what an unintentional, perfect metaphor: Two of the album's best moments land back to back after "Elephant" to close the record. Slaton's perfectly intonated upright bass, Ryan Cavanaugh's spare banjo and a harmonizing pair of flutes offer Douglas a graceful bed on "The Devil's Best." On the jangly "Trickle Down," he wants back in: "Baby, you're so cool/ and I'm making my way to your heart/ like a fool," he sings, barely twinkling into a naïve falsetto. He'd probably change his mind by the eleventh track if Handguns and Dancing Shoes had one. It's good to know Douglas still lets that conflict fuel one of the state's best bits of pop ambition.

The Proclivities releases Handguns and Dancing Shoes Thursday, June 12, at Tir Na Nog in Raleigh. The Young Sons opens the free 10 p.m. show. The band also plays Saturday, June 14, at Southern Rail in Carrboro.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:

http://gnoer.bandcamp.com/

Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)

Comments

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation