DANIEL FRANCIS DOYLE AND THE DREAMS “Unrecognizable” (Self Sabotage Records)

Wait a sec.

Shhh, just shush. Give me a minute. I’m grooving here. I can’t be expected to write about this record while it’s making me squiggle around all over the floor, can I? A man has his limits, and that’s mine, right there.

Daniel Francis has currently got my butt wigglin’, that ain’t no lie. “Unrecognizable” is 100% fun, a blast of seven tunes, treats really, filled with wide-eyed enthusiasm and hooks for miles and miles and miles. Each one is a taut confection of guitar-tinged new wave with enough quirk to keep you interested but not too much to put you off. (To be fair: it takes an awful lot of quirk to put me off.) It’s kind of like Mothersbaugh’s original music for “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” spun into visionary power pop, each song just begging for a mid-1980s run on some late-night MTV show. I don’t know what was on MTV late at night in the 1980s, I was too young to stay up.


“Unrecognizable” should probably be played at a fairly loud volume, and you can totally imagine Doyle and the group herky-jerking around like David Byrne in a huge boxy suit. Even the closing title track, packed as it is with cathartic anger, contains enough twists and turns and zaniness to keep you guessing. Still, nothing takes away from Doyle’s clear bitterness that seeps into the fisted piano hits by the end. But then of course the tape starts right back over with the James MurpymeetsAdam Antian “I Had to Do It,” and the bops return, and the smile is plastered, as it has been for all of the moments we’ve already gone through. My face might be unrecognizable if this turns into a painful perma-smile. It’s a medical condition some of us have to deal with.

OK, OK, so you got me to write something. Now can I get back to this?