Dawes – Nothing is Wrong (ATO)

About ten seconds into ‘Nothing is Wrong’ you figure out that Dawes is either the next big thing, or perhaps it already is. The band is more polished than Wilco was at the beginning, and with a real knack and ambition to write legitimate pop songs – a lot like mid-career Ryan Adams. Not only are they great songwriters, with a gifted lead singer, they have a genuinely rootsy sound that is considerably more commercially accessible than Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Midlake and the rest of the modern Americana canon. In fact you’d have to go back to the California scene in the 60’s and 70’s which included the Byrds, Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac to get the kind of authenticity you hear on ‘Nothing is Wrong.’

From the apropos and radio friendly opener ‘Time Spent in Los Angeles’ to the anthemic ‘My Way Back Home’ you hear greatness, both mass and indie. When the band isn’t channeling “Music From the Big Pink” they are lyrically and vocally more in sync with Jackson Browne (I say this in a good way) whose write sweet, honest largely upbeat songs about love, loss and everything in between (see ‘Fire Away). I listen to music to trigger a variety of feelings, each band and each song its own little drug to twist and contort my state of mind into a conducive place. With Dawes it’s mostly a happy pill that works every time.