From the outset of "Caspian," the opening track on Dallas Orbiter's sophomore effort, this album fairly gleams. The band has been (and will likely continue to be) compared to space rock in the Bowie vein. That's a fair assessment, but they're far less theatrical and light years from being a facsimile (no pun intended). The sci-fi references pop up here and there ("Hallelujah, the Jetpack Dandies," sounds like a long lost track from Bowie's Aladdin Sane), but often the lyrics seem rooted more in Greek mythology than anything else ("Brow of Zeus," "The Damocles File"), and there is more than a smidgeon of Pink Floyd-esque spaced-out weirdness present throughout, owing to the copious use of a Farfisa organ.
I don't mean to describe an album that would appeal only to the hardest-core vinyl nerds and career potheads. To the contrary, Motorcycle Diagrams is immensely listenable and more than a little glossy—but that gloss is nicked and pockmarked enough to keep the listener engaged through to the denouement. Each song has its own unique richness and texture, from the Queens of the Stone Age-tinged "Ampbuzz Is for Lovers" to the haunting, electronica-bruised, quasi-murder ballad "The Dawn & Jitters." "The Damocles File," in particular, seems ripe for radio play, though the album as a whole is bursting at its edges with some of the catchiest hooks I have come across in a long while. We're only a few weeks into '08, but this is already a contender for one of the year's best local albums.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.