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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Dominoes

The Dominoes (Splunge Communications)

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While he may not go out of his way to make the claim, Clancy Carroll has been a key player in the local alternative scene since its beginnings. In a sense, this CD documents Carroll’s personal history. Guitarists Carroll and Gerard LaValliere had left The Ones and The Haskels, respectively, and formed The Dominoes with bassist Bobby Mitchell and drummer Mike Farrow at the dawn of the ’80s. Boasting three writers and four singers, Carroll recalls, “what surprised me the most was the number of quality songs that we had, and that I had forgotten many of them. We were a pretty democratic entity, so things are spread out pretty well across each writer.” Primarily made up of home tapes and demos, this compilation offers a glimpse of a creative band.

During their two-year existence, The Dominoes blended poppy new wave and quirky dance floor funk with a hint of ska into a jukebox of their own making. This eclectic sensibility was not unusual back then and these guys used it to their advantage. The piston propulsion of the rhythm section energizes the new wave noir of Carroll’s “The Man is Watching You.” “Poor Willie” showcases the Dominoes as a viable guitar band, but what resonates across all the tunes is how listenable and likeable the group seemed to be. No menacing pose or dated sloganeering here, just music for sheer enjoyment.


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