It’s quite possible that DOM are one of the worst, least talented or original bands ever. Like I care. So far these punks who give so few fucks about anything that they recorded their debut EP in a bedroom with a pink guitar, a program called Fruity Loops (actually) and a casio keyboard have managed to score slots on Lollapalooza, get personally asked to support Jane’s Addiction, top a whole lot of important lists by blogs that apparently matter and get Gucci freakin’ Mane to drop verses on their remix. I mean, what even is that for a band who only go by their members’ first names and have some of the worst recording techniques this side of Wavves? That’s a band who managed to use absolutely zero studio time to come up with one of the most feelgood synth tracks since MGMT went weird and Passion Pit got jacked up on too much sugar. It’s not as particularly genius hook, but then, have you tried playing ‘Kids’ on the piano? Exactly. School’s out, intellectuals.
I paid zero attention to DOM the first time they were shoved in my face because they seemed too much a part of the garage stoner-wave phenomenon that had produced a lot of very average bands and only a few exceptional ones, like Best Coast. But like all good things that come to those who wait, there came a point where there was absolutely nothing in my car I wanted to listen to and so out come that debut, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, which – of course- had a picture of a cat on the front. the very fact that I went in with negative expectations already in place makes my liking of Dom even more surprising; usually it’s an extraordinary display of undeniable talent or a deep-seated arrangement that will change my mind, neither of which this guy and his seemingly, elegantly wasted friends (Eric, Bobby – it must be fun filling out visa forms with this band) seemed to have any interest in. But ‘Living In America’, which enters pretty early in the piece, changed a lot of that. It’s a gem swimming in shitty mixing and in-jokes that you only get when you’re high, but I know an anthem when I hear it. So too, apparently, did indie America, who, if reports are to be believed, played the crap out of this tune at college parties across the state right before Electronic Dance Music was about to obliterate their country last year. It’s got everything you need in a great song but it seems like almost all of it was some complete, happy, tripped-out accident. While I think to think that all great music is composed with pose and dignity, the fact is sometimes messed-up guys with messed-up hair get lucky. This is what I like to call ‘Exhibit A’, ‘Exhibit B’ being most of what got serious airplay between 1993 and 1995.
For a song with no budget, ‘Living In America’ sounds pretty big. There’s a lot of Casios being tracked over each other and cascading into one another here, pretty much from the word go. In fact, if there weren’t other players listed on this CD inlay I’d probably think it was one guy on seventeen of the things rather than a bass player and a drummer or whatever. That main hook, which opens the piece and returns for the chorus, is the clincher. It’s that descending bass under the aspirational rinky-dink treble line that is so completely Breakfast Club it hurts. You know it isn’t rocket science but somehow it gets lodged in your brain, so that by the time it returns in full-on arms-open mode with vocals added your mind is somehow blown without you even having taken stock properly. The melody in the chorus is also a neat little number; doubling the note on ‘se-xyyyy’ at the end of the phrase rather than going down or up a tone like the band seems to be asking for, it strikes as far more unique proposition that’s also much cooler. That’s probably the most analysis Dom’s lyrics have been given in forever, but the combination of these two things and a sort of shout cheerleader verse that’s mired in some sort of subsonic goo before breaking out for eight bars or so makes it a song I can’t get out of my head even after Americans have long gotten over it. Well played, Dom. Now go do your taxes.
DOM – ‘Living In America’