Dorena – Nuet

Nuet cover art

Artist Dorena
Album Nuet
Genre Post-Rock
Buy/DL Deep Elm Digital
Web Facebook
Label Deep Elm
Release 12 March 2013
Rating Excellent

There is something to be said about the healing powers of the sweet sounds created by Dorena. A member of the Deep Elm Records family, the Swedish 5-piece sometimes electronic sometimes pop and almost always playful band has forged a career out of creating uplifting joyful tracks that speak to the soul. They are one of my “go to” bands when I’m having a bad day or when I just need a pick me up. The band’s ability to deliver obnoxiously catchy beats and melodies is what sets them apart from the rest of the third wave “pretty” post-rock crowd. With so many bands experimenting and tweaking their sound in the post-rock world, upon receiving my copy of ‘Nuet‘ I was thrilled to discover Dorena has chosen to nurture and improve upon their winning post-rock formula.

Nuet‘ is a rock-solid 49 minutes long spanning across seven unique tracks. Even while staying true to their sound,  the band has managed to incorporate some new elements into the mix while accentuating some lesser used elements. These minor changes all come across as charming and welcome editions, so much so that at times you don’t even notice them. So you say you are not familiar with the uprising of the chiptune genre? Let Dorena introduce you to the stylings of electronic 8-bit video game music (think old school 80’s Nintendo) with the intro to “Her Comforting Touch”. With a base layer that sounds like a sample straight out of Donkey Kong, the band has managed to add a unique touch to an otherwise classic track without causing any real ripples in the water. Actually the addition of chiptune isn’t even the most drastic change to be found on the album. There is a much more increased focus and emphasis on singing found scattered throughout the album. The fourth track “Dandelion” is the best example of this and offers a softer moment featuring melodramatic emotional singing for about half a minute or so. Later in the album, “A Late Farewell” also feature singing that meshes beautifully with the relaxed vibe of the song. As someone who is generally a harsh critic of vocals in post-rock, the vocals found on ‘Nuet‘ are refreshingly lovely and feel very natural to the progression of the band.

The album picks up right where their 2010 effort ‘About Everything and More‘ left off with the lead track “Semper“, A soft harmonious number with a casual yet prominent driven beat. ‘Semper‘ is the softer of the album’s two ambient tracks, joined by “A Late Farewell” which clocks in at nearly ten minutes as the album’s sixth track. “A Late Farewell” has everything you could ask for in an ambient post-rock track. A seven minute build up leads up to the track’s full realization as guitars moan in distorted agony as cymbals persistently crash. While these tracks are a nice change of pace, they are far from Dorena at their best.

“Young Hearts of Summer” is where ‘Nuet‘ truly starts to shine. Playful electronics push forward an obnoxiously catchy number as drummer Jonatan Tikas keeps a medium tempo beat. The guitar and keyboards in this track truly do feel inseparable as they complement one another perfectly through the ups and downs of the song. Elegant at times and high energy at others, the song is ripe with the joyful emotion that Dorena puts forth in their music. As great of a track as it is though, it simply outclassed by “My Childhood Friend”, which is the best track on the album and a worthy rival to my favorite Dorena track “From The Window of my Room”. With a minimal ambient intro that eventually comes to a crawl, the track suddenly jumps from first to fifth gear with a brightly distorted guitar leading into a Irish pub inspired jam. Just when you think that the vibe is coming to an end as the track starts to slow it shifts gears yet again with a series of Whoa-Oh-Oh’s that I dare anyone to try to not sing along to. “My Childhood Friend” is a wildly and outrageously creative track that could only be pulled off by a band as clever as Dorena.

With ‘Nuet‘ being their third album, Dorena is at the stage of their career where complacency could have had the guys making wildly drastic changes to their sound. However the band stayed true to the style that has earned them so many adoring fans and a much deserved spot on the Deep Elm roster. To me, ‘Nuet‘ is a picture perfect example how a band can evolve and mature without making any sudden and unexpected changes. Unsurprisingly, Deep Elm Records has produced yet another winner that I simply can’t say enough good things about. If you are asking me to a choose a favorite between this album and ‘About Everything and More’, I’ll be more than happy to disappoint you by sidestepping the question because I simply can’t do it. Get ‘Nuet‘ ASAP and make the decision for yourself.