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De Novo Dahl: Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound

B+

De Novo Dahl

Album: Move Every Muscle, Make Every Sound
Label: Roadrunner

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Nashville's De Novo Dahl screwed itself with a debut album—2005's Cats & Kittens—that included not only a staggering 16 songs, but mediocre jokey remixes for every last one. By that standard, the 52-minute sophomore follow-up is downright zippy. The opener/lead single "Shout" is the kind of self-tutoring pop song that allows for chorus scream-alongs almost immediately. Other songs are more complicated: Grabbing some of Squeeze's fluid twists, DND deepen the sound with production that makes everything seem epic and cavernous, even when it isn't. That means the often-distinct songs can blend together on first listen, but the sharpest hooks—the frenzied "Make Some Sense" or Arcade Fire-size ballad "Marketplace"—still stand out. At heart, DND is kind of a punk band with energetic live shows that strip down songs to the simplest elements, but it's also the kind of punk band that understands that yelping and fast tempos will only go so far.