Dowzer - Not As Plant
Record Label: Waterslide Records/Self-released
Release Date: February 2010
Blink 182 had Cheshire Cat ; Green Day had 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. These were records that would never have meant much to anyone if not for the CDs that followed and ultimately brought these bands to the limelight. They were stepping stones that would serve to hold the places of these bands in the music scene until they rightfully came into their own with their musicianship and their songwriting abilities. Not As Plant is that CD for Dowzer.
Not As Plant kicks off with the ukelele intro of “No Way Out”. The vocals are nasally and the melodies are unfittingly scattered from verse to chorus and back again. While vocals are supplied from all three members of this trio, Sandra Heeren’s voice doesn’t quite mesh with those of her male counterparts, Deny Putman and Rik Hagens. Perhaps it’s the overseas accents, or perhaps it’s just the so-so production of the band’s sophomore release, but the vocals didn’t flow as smoothly as they could have. The words blend too much into the music, and it sounds as if the band members are just all trying to give each other a shot at singing on the album.
The CD’s second track “Medication” sounds eerily reminiscent of The Ataris’ “Teenage Riot” in its opening chords. “Maintain Uniform” shows likenesses to Punk In Drublic-era NoFX in the slightly reggae-ish strum of the guitar about a minute in. Not As Plant sounds like a collection of the band’s influences rather than a unique sound they’ve developed on their own – an important barrier in the evolution of a band within any music genre.
Dowzer’s greatest strength lies in the lyrical material of their songs. This Netherlands-based band focuses on the entrapment of a small town and the incapacitations they face with the people around them. Dowzer isn’t about the and-they-lived-happily-ever route of life. “Flukes and Falling Stars” criticizes those of blind faith, citing “There’s nothing wrong with an optimist, but you’re just another fool waiting for the sun in the middle of the night. You’ve got to break through this on your own.”
I’m still not sure what Not As Plant even means, but this 13-track album – 14 if you include the hidden bonus track at the end of “Rain On My Parade” – shows potential for improvement. Dowzer isn’t anywhere near the top of their game, but give them a few years and they may improve for the better as their predecessors did.