Mike Watt is such an urbane cat that it's s a little difficult to recognize him as one of modern rock's true eccentrics. Doubt me? Well, even discounting the myriad other enterprises he's been part of, all ten kajillion of them (including The Stooges), he here joins Kira for their fourth release of just two basses and voice—that's it: two basses, voice, nothing else. Can't work? Guess again. Dos Y Dos has a charming storybook character to it, seemingly accompaniment for a Roald Dahl film that was never made. Amelodic, you're guessing? In fact, it's nothing but melodies and interludes. Eccentric, definitely, but very very cool…and not all that odd, not really, not once you settle into it, a move that requires no effort whatsoever.
Forget Dave Holland, Gary Peacock, Barre Phillips, and what you've heard in solo bass playing, this is continents removed from all that. Largely instrumental, Dos is a soporific, music you can fall asleep to, angels dancing above weary pate. There are some peppy numbers (Uncle Mike, etc.), but, well, minus distortion pedals and Marshalls, just how emphatic can a bass guitar get? Not very, it was never meant to until Les Paul electrified everything. Kira and Watt prefer to explore that old manifestation rather than make it scream like a brontosaurus, as Felix Pappalardi did, or race around the room, as Manring and Hodgekinson are so adept at.
The lyric content is also fairylandish. Ties to Bind reminds me a bit of the content of Brace & Coper's new tribute production of T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow (here) but, again, as if Dahl had a hand in it all, darker than Hall would ever venture, but then Number Eight has dog growls and puppy barks. Could you play this for your kids? Definitely, and I'm quite sure they'd dig at least parts of it, so long as you haven't been feeding 'em a strictly Led Zeppelin diet.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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