2020 definitely hasn’t produced much worth writing home about on the rock n’ roll front, but if you look beyond the surface of the mainstream, you’ll find that the underground is still ensuring rockers’ needs will be met this summer. Take Dizzy Box Nine for example – this July, the acclaimed California riff/harmony/riff syndicate are breaking off a sequel to their 2019 smash Pop Fantasy in the form of Faster Than Anticipation, and though they delivered a tough record to beat last year, they bring their A-game to this most recent offering and wind up slugging out another grand slam.
There’s a lot of heart in the lyrics throughout this record, but in the case of “Friday Night,” “Near You” and “This Is All For You,” the narrative feels particularly authentic on the part of our lead singer here. Whether he’s rapping in the refrain from the chorus in “Friday Night” or harmonizing in a near-seamless fashion in “Sometimes I Feel Like This,” his soul is right in the center of the mix alongside his vocal, which in itself makes all fourteen of the songs included on Faster Than Anticipation feel a little more special in general.
One can’t help but pick up on a strong 80’s punk influence in this LP, and especially in the cuts “If This Is Real,” “Let’s Go Skating,” “Little By Little” and “OK, OK,” but I’d stop far short of describing even one second of the audio here as being throwback-ish in nature. Dizzy Box Nine have managed to get to this point in their career together without falling back on watered-down compositional fodder, and judging from the creative parameters of this LP, I’d say they’re not going to be straying from their trademark originality in this lifetime – and potentially the next as well.
The hook is the main star in “Amazing Night,” “The Sun Came Out The Other Day” and “Phone Bill,” and because of this reason, all of these songs should make for killer singles if Dizzy Box Nine feels like releasing them as such. Pretty much everything on Faster Than Anticipation has a certain radio-ready feel that is usually reserved for singles and music video soundtracks alone, but best of all, none of the shimmering songcraft on this album comes with an unfeeling narrative – the opposite, actually. It’s undisputedly pathetic that asking for authenticity in pop has become next to impossible in the last decade, but at least that isn’t stopping this band from giving us exactly what we need this July.
Those who crave legitimate rock with a heavy pop influence should definitely consider Dizzy Box Nine’s Faster Than Anticipation required listening this summer, primarily because of the fact that it’s featuring one of the few tasteful hybrids of the two genres you’ll hear anywhere in the underground right now. These guys are bringing a taste of California fun in the sun to a rather grey day for pop, and in my book, that earns them a healthy dose of praise.