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Values and Virtues (EP)
Artist:  Josh Doyle
Label:  Independent (www.joshdoyle.com)
Time:  5 Tracks / 20 mins 

I never did get to see Dumdums live. If I remember rightly, I was interviewing Earthsuit at the Greenbelt Festival while they were a few metres away doing their final gig (so near, yet so far). But their reputation was strong. Although the industry tried to mould them into something they weren’t (they were probably the band that Busted was built upon) they came from being into Pearl Jam.

In this fan-funded EP Doyle reminds me most of the Alarm around the Chance era, especially on “Waiting for the Payoff” and the end of “Ghost Like You,” thanks to both his ringing guitar and impassioned vocals. His singing is just as reminiscent of Mike Peters in “Concrete Moon.”

Doyle’s punkier roots show from the opening “High School Soldier” ­ a rant decrying bringing up kids to go into the military. Quench guitarist Mark Hamilton crunches powerfully through this memorable track.

This is not an easy genre to shine in. Doyle is in competition with thousands of bands and solo artists, but a mix of integrity, passion and thoughtful lyrics raises this to a four-tock EP. There are not many who can wring such emotion from a four-minute song, and “Ghost Like You” could “squeeze sadness from your eyes” by reading the lyrics, even without Doyle’s anguished singing. Like Jon Foreman, Doyle specializes in describing the emptiness of some people’s lives and the poetic “Waiting for the Payoff” rings with understanding and integrity: 

“At stop lights, looking round for understanding eyes
 Someone to save us from these spaces
 We pile high the wreckage money buys,
 Parade it for uninterested faces.
Doyle mainly sells his music at gigs and via his website. You can try before you buy at the website, where signed-up fans have access to loads of free songs. There are also alternative versions here, and the acoustic “Concrete Moon” is very Foreman. I’d recommend a visit, especially if you like The Alarm or Switchfoot, but beware ­ the last two tracks are completely addictive.

Derek Walker


 
 
 

 
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