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De Novo Dahl

Cats & Kittens (Theory 8)

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In some unknown language, De Novo Dahl might just mean the perfect band (or perhaps Roald Dahl's nipple). But in the common parole of modern music, this six-member Nashville band seems destined (or determined) to labor in obscurity. A ponderous double helping of mouthwatering pop, Cats & Kittens is a two-disc delight that was two years in the making, so it might be too much for the general public to bite right into. Which is a shame, because the first disc contains 16 tracks of expertly crafted, hyperactive pop-rock that evokes the effortless feel of Brian Wilson at his most meticulous, a rainbow assault powerful enough to blow the New Pornographers off the stage and into the atomic dustbin. The second disc presents the same 16 songs remixed (most of them in heavily danceable electronic fashion) so radically as to make drawing lines from the songs on the first disc to the second almost impossible. Occasionally, De Novo Dahl veers too close to bubblegum, as on the cutesy-cheap keyboard jam "The Funk." But, for the most part, both sides of Cats & Kittens offer music lovers more than enough smart and sexy melodic candy to suck on for summers to come.

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