Friday, April 07, 2017

Band Review: Dom Italiano

Dom Italiano is a musician based in Melbourne, Australia, sometimes performing with the Upbeat Mafia.

There is a lot to like about his music, which generally comes across as heartfelt and sincere. There is one weakness that I think can be corrected, so I want to spend some time on that, focusing on two songs.

One is a medley that combines "My Funny Valentine", "Wicked Game", and "Baby, One More Time". None of those sound like obvious combinations, but "My Funny Valentine" and "Wicked Game" work pretty well. Left together, they could give a nice idea of how a fairly sweet sense of love can shift to one that that becomes overpowering. Leaving it there would have been memorable in a good way. Adding in "Baby, One More Time" not only jars due to being a mismatch but also feels excessive. You need to know when to quit.

(Just to clarify, "Baby, One More Time" with only one of the others would feel weird, but not excessive.)

This can be observed on another level with "There is a Light", which should be my favorite of his songs. It has a lilting melody and an earnest buildup full of emotion. However, as he creates a picture of the life of this wonderful girl, one of the details he includes is her roommate watching Letterman while an underage girl gives him head. If it was just the "head" part, it would still be pretty crude and throw off the tone, but adding in that she is underage makes it that much more terrible.

Based on the lyrics of the other tracks, I believe his writing method is very true to life, and so I suspect that is a real detail. That doesn't mean that it needs to go in the song. Included in the song, it becomes an obstacle to the enjoyment.

So I think there is room for some development here, of taste and proportion and a sense of how things should go. There are artists who emphasize the crude and uncomfortable and downright profane; that is one way to be. If your overall sound tends more toward the sweet and optimistic, that requires a different approach. It can be fine to take people out of the song to make a point, but that should be deliberate and this feels accidental.

There is a lot that can be enjoyed here, but still room for refinement.

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