Dramady is Portland based duo consisting of Amanda Mason Wiles and Zacery Quintin Stanley who have recently released their second album, Answer Only to the Sea via Cochon Records. Recorded at Arbor Lodge Studios in Portland, Oregon by Pall Jenkins (Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession, Mr. Tube), the band has a dynamic two-member structure that engages listeners and audiences with Wiles on bass and tenor saxophone, Stanley on simultaneous drums, keyboard and vocals and a precise use of loops and harmony to achieve a full sound. Answer Only to the Sea is streaming in its entirety over at CMJ where they describe the band as: “…the kind of music that’s equal parts sugar-high ecstasy and bedroom-moodiness”. Portland-based weekly Willamette Week also singled out the album cut Deadlines which you can check out here.
The band’s roots are deeply embedded in Portland’s vital music scene. Dramady has been performing and writing continuously since their formation in 2006. Last summer Dramady traveled as support for Three Mile Pilot’s West Coast tour. Dramady’s incarnation came about in the height of a hilarious life drama, hence the name. Their music is inspired by real life events, their hopes and their dreams.
All of the songs on the album were written by Stanley and Wiles in the spring of 2013. The album is a tribute to the bands authentic style and pure sounds that they create together. Jenkins’ taut recording technique allows room for their inventive vocal harmonies, playful lyricism and their ear for the head-turning hook. While each song contains moments that will replay in your head for days, the album oscillates between more serene yet upbeat tracks such as Keep it Up, Casual Sludge and the pulsing, danceable Downlow and I Wanna be Good.
Beginning track Go Home is a wonderful and uplifting song to kick start Answer Only to the Sea. It has a danceable beat filled with electronic melodies and differentiating tempos that allow the song to glide in and out of your ears and awareness. Two Ghosts In One Costume is a slightly bassier track that has lushious harmonies at the end that will send shivers down your spine.
Diggin’ A Hole has a different feel to the rest of the record. This song feels like an electronic funk version of a 1970s rock track with a similar style to David Bowie on the vocals. There’s a brilliant bass riff as well that won’t fail to get you moving.
Glow In The Dark is another track with a memorable bass riff – it is the bass along with the drums that are the first instruments heard on this song. The instrumentation starts off simple and builds gradually, introducing lots of sounds. Glow In The Dark presents heavy, bass tones mixed with marvellous tenor saxophone solos which gives this song a slightly unusual sound, a cross between electronic pop and jazz. It’s a track with uplifting melodies and quirky sounds in the background – the sounds of birds chirping for example – making this track feel really summery.
I Wanna Be Good showcases Wiles’ feminine vocals. Stanley’s vocals start the track off while Wiles’ vocals eventually become dominant with Stanley harmonising. It’s a jerky track that seems to be disjointed in more ways than one, nothing flows as well as in the other songs, but it’s this oddness that makes this song so appealing. The instrumentation is kept very simple; drums, bass and saxophone. The bass notes sound distorted and the drums sound like they’re being hit by a child at times but it works well.
Answer Only to the Sea is a good album filled with pleasant electronic melodies intertwined with interesting structures and musical layers. If you want an uplifting record to make your winter seem brighter then this is it. Answer Only to the Sea is full of summery tracks which will not fail to remind you of that beach you were sat on earlier in the year, summer BBQs with friends and late nights sitting in the garden. It’s just what the doctor ordered to clear your winter blues.