The cutesy indie pop sunshine emanating from The Dawn Sang Along could fit into commercials quite easily. The dew-glistening vocals, ambling rhythms, and light-hearted hooks could propel a shiny sedan down a winding hill quite easily to “Boy on Wheels”, a pretty family smiling out the open windows. Over a well-sliced section of “Argonauts, a group of hip young people (maybe one of them is wearing a scarf and some thick-framed glasses) could walk into a restaurant. Which is all to say that the world that The Little Ones present on this album is heavily prepared and packaged, lacking much emotional diversity and any sort of grit.
That said, the Los Angelenos are great at putting together this sort of non-threatening warmth. There are few bands that can emulate Vampire Weekend without ripping them off quite the way that The Little Ones do on album opener “Argonauts”. Warm island rhythms and bouncy bass buoy Ed Reyes’ airy lilt, the track pushing gently along like a warm current. The retro synths on “Little Souls” keep the listening easy, the comfortable breeze of ’80s pop melding with an equally lithe Caribbean rhythmic warmth.
The Dawn Sang Along presents a world where cutesy melodies and upbeat hooks are the absolute norm, a world with no intrusion from difficulty. Even the slower moments deny any equivalent display of pain, as when Ed and brother Brian harmonically smooth over the rough edges on the slow shimmy of “AWOL”: “don’t you feel it’s just a way of life?” The Phoenix and Vampire Weekend comparisons come hard and fast, but unlike those heavy-hitters, the majority of the hooks on The Dawn Sang Along aren’t strong enough to make up for the one-note atmosphere.
Essential Tracks: “Argonauts”, “Boy on Wheels”