‘Made A List’ is the second single released by Dingus Khan on Giant Haystacks records last month, the only band to come out of Manningtree; or, various rooms in Manningtree Town.
Dingus Khan is a band name which admittedly gives away no hint of the type of spectacle the ensemble really is. It tells nothing of the warm melodies, the jauntiness of their pop sensibility or the thrashing drum-track which accompanies a considerable proportion of their live show. This partly works well as the band has an ironic sense of humility, their music interlocked with their personalities which makes a refreshingly entertaining change in the midst of any pop/rock line-up on offer.
For a newcomer to the band there must be several first impressions aroused. The lyric writers of the band certainly can’t have steady jobs and have a lot of free weekends (subject matter covered could only be done so this being the case), they don’t clothes shop at high street chains all that often, consume a considerable amount of soft drugs and if you didn’t know any better, believe the lead singer has had his heart broken a few times laughing at himself in the process. Some of these are true. In all probability, it’s the last part which draws the younger crowd in with a modern and humorous take on romantic issues of old, as well as the props and funky outfits which don their live gigs. Common reactions to these shows seem to be empathy for their musical cause, and a desire to join the cult.
Also largely down to these ever-dynamic gigs over the past year is the reason they have become so big as of late. A home gig in Colchester recently was sandwiched between appearances at Reading and Leeds and their first UK tour is coming up towards the end of this year. Watching them now, it makes sense to know that their latest single ‘Made a List’ was recorded about a year ago, before the addition of certain vocal lines, that one extra drummer and benefitting from help in the studio with the violin. This great last addition moves them one step closer to Arcade Fire or British Sea Power than The Pixies, all with a great noisy ending.
The new single is quite melodic with a singer-songwriter feel, quite different to the fast-paced ‘Knifey Spoony’ from March, which a cynical analysis could reveal as an industry ploy (the softer second single) – but this band are all indie, on the side-lines of any kind of ‘industry’ and with a local, one-off manager. To denote the song an anthem would be to indulge in the exaggerated, clichéd, overused dialect of the pop rock reviewer, but the chanting climax of Made a List does qualify it as their humble anthem, with the audience engrossed in a mass sing-along finale. By the end of the tune, we are enjoined to partake in this over and over, and there’s that thought again: musical empathy!
An amusing music video filmed locally, featuring a cast of characters accompanies the single. The next thing from Dingus Khan seems to be their album, which will be one to look out for in 2013. At the moment, you get the impression they can’t quite believe their luck…their outer circle of friends usually aren’t so surprised. In the meantime – listen and expect big things!