Top Shelf Records' Two-Piece Slingshot Dakota Release "Break"
By Michelle Turk - Links: Twitter
Topshelf Records’ Slingshot Dakota is a two-piece band that has previously been called “a punk rock anomaly” by Noisey. Since the band’s formation in 2003 with previous members of Latterman, singer-songwriter Carly Comando has been one of the most punk rock pianists in the scene. Over time, as the line-up narrowed down to drummer Tom Patterson and Comando, the two have released two records Their Dreams are Dead, But Ours is the Golden Ghost! and Dark Hearts. Their latest release Break is the first album the two have written since their wedding while touring with Title Fightin 2013. Beyond being a married couple, the two have a musical chemistry that is undeniable. Like the way fingers interlock when you hold hands, each musically fills in what the other leaves open and Break is, without a doubt, a testament to that musical chemistry.
About a year ago- and for the first time in New York- Comando and Patterson played the opening track from Break live in a DIY, all ages venue. It is no surprise that this song is the opening track to the album. Its feel is in a true Slingshot Dakota fashion. With a falling piano sweep that is heavily distorted and a driving drum beat, Comando sings “I always thought I had control/ I never thought I'd lose it all then I found you.” The two lose their minds while playing and that energy reflected so perfectly in this recording. With just a subtle touch of harmony laid under the song’s title, Comando’s voice sings the word “you,” invoking so many memories to any listener who has been lucky enough to fall in love.
The next song “Monocacy,” named for a river in Pennsylvania where the two reside, sounds as though it had a strong influence from weird and wonderful varieties of artists. The verses have a strong nostalgia for singer-songwriter Carole King, but as the song transitions to the bridge with Comando's distorted bass line on keys, there is an aroma of influence of all the hardcore and punk bands they have toured with and played with through the years. It is a unique gem of a song that fits so wonderfully with any of Topshelf’s catalogue.
The hardest hitting song is the title track “Break.” Opening with the warm hum of an organ, this song is classic Slingshot Dakota that fills the air with electricity. The lyrics are inspiring, especially to those who are going through a difficult time in their lives or relationships to keep going and choose love, because it is worth it. “It's the kind of love that will make you break/ but if it's worth enough it's a chance you take” is easily the most powerful and important lyric on the record. With a rolling drum, muted cymbals, pitch bends, and an ambient bridge, the ballad is very emotional. Comando’s cries will make many listeners cry before closing out the song the same way it opened, “And in the end it's two of us, it was always two of us” and the subtle organ hum.
Overall, the record displays musical and lyrical maturation. Break is a little more playful and experimental musically yet as serious and meaningful as Dark Hearts. The two will be performing at SXSW on a mini-tour with two-piece Diet Cig and hitting the road for a Spring Break Record Release tour across the US and Canada.
Songs to listen to: “You”, “Paycheck”, “Break”