steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Dakota Suite

"This River Only Brings Poison" CD

Planting Seeds Records

Genres: indie pop, slowcore

Planting Seeds
PO Box 64665
Virginia Beach VA

Dec 15 - 21 2003

Combine the dreariness of Red House Painters, the elegant instrumentation of L'altra, and the subtle pedal steel of American Music Club (Bruce Kaphan helps out on three of this album's songs), and you've got Dakota SuiteThis River Only Brings Poison is their 2002 release, although Planting Seeds recently put out a reissue with four bonus tracks.

Most of the melodies on this album are instantly memorable.  You'd need to be an amnesiac not to have "Let's Share Wounds" ringing in your head after just one listen.  The severely L'altra-esque "Boats in a Sunken Ocean," meanwhile, will have you hooked from the first note.  Bittersweet treasures "The Ferris Wheels of Winter" and "Pillows in the Water" are also very strong parts of this album, which is largely subdued and downtrodden.  The short instrumental interludes that pad the songs are very effective as well, helping to build the record's casual, meandering flow.  The powerful bonus tracks, meanwhile, are worthwhile inclusions, blending in with the album's overall feel perfectly - "The Streets Were All I Saw," in fact, is one of the disc's best moments.

Less sad than sadcore, less urgent than indie pop, and less spacey than dream pop, Dakota Suite's This River Only Brings Poison is a revelation in pop music.  Purchase it with pride.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 18 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]