When last we spoke to Riverwest garage rock outfit Dinny Bulca, the then-new band was looking for a foothold in the music scene by seeking to break onto bills at more venues and to play shows with established locals. Meanwhile, the trio was knocking out songs for a debut album with an uncertain release date (but title Ladies & Gentlemen already in place). Almost eight months later, Dinny has filled its show ledger and has finally compiled enough songs to properly populate its long-named debut full-length.
Opener “Cut Corners” proves inaccurate, as it pulls out all stops to cram as much bristly punk-smeared angst as possible in 2:27’s time. From its satisfying introduction, the debut clambers clumsily and unremarkably until fifth song, “Twenty Minutes Go By,” which chips away at the band’s abrasive veneer saying, “This can only go like this” in a hushed tone before exploding into an crushing instrumental crescendo. That fifth song sets the tone for the dingy production paired with warm angular guitars and contracting lyrics like “Bitterness can be so sweet” in sixth song “Cursive Letters.”
Speedy novelty song “Japlin” is still very-much enjoyable, as two-plus verses and a wicked solo are crammed into a mere minute and a half window. However, after “Japlin” is where the fun stops, as double-song “The First One” and “The Last One” is a somber, understated and honest coupling of songs that pulls from all corners of guitarist Scott Cary’s versatile, always forceful – though oft-shaky – and altogether defining vocals. “This is your last song. This is the last one,” he screams amid Kelly Danen’s crushing drum thuds and Corbin Coonan’s ever-walking bass line.
Admittedly, the new-ish band stumbles at points throughout Ladies & Gentlemen, yet effort hints at the promising future of Dinny Bulca with the bi-polar pairing of the admirably somber stylings of “The First One” set against “The Last One” in unison. Yet, the near-10-minute title track does little to solve the band’s inconsistency. By album’s end, we’ve heard a dozen (or so, dependant on whether a referenced stop counts as a new track beginning) songs that are stylistically meandering. Still, this isn’t a rude introduction per say. If distilled down to six or seven songs worth of meaty, garage rock essence, this would’ve only hastened the ascent of what’s bound to be a quickly growing garage rock trio in Milwaukee’s immediate future.
Dinny Bulca plays its release show at Riverwest Public House tonight, headlining a bill, which also includes Calliope and Sex Forecast. The show begins at 9 p.m. and costs $5.