Jeff Dahl – ‘Made In Hawaii’ (Self-Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Dom Daley   
Friday, 10 March 2017 04:30

jeffdahlWhere you been? It’s been a while, but you read that right: Jeff Dahl is back in the hood and he's packing a brand new record - written and recorded right where he lives, in (yeah you guessed it) Hawaii – and we were lucky enough to bag a copy of it. 


What a rush it was when I was able to turn the speakers up on a brand new Jeff Dahl record, and the hairs stood up as the guitars rolled in on 'Kailua 5AM'.  So, it's not the Lower East Side, nor is it Detroit rock city or Orange County punk rock; neither is it about the clothes you wear, nor is it about where you live: it's a feeling inside that you either have or you don't. It's as simple as that folks. You can try fake it or fool people, but those people can see right through the fakers - and you can take it from me: Jeff Dahl has the gene and is a 100 per cent from the heart bonafide good guy.


Dahl has stayed true to himself. He has penned many a great record over the years, and this latest offering is (you'll be delighted to hear) right on the money and bristling with some great work,  as Jeff tells stories of his past. He's a guy who's been there and done it - before most of us even thought about it.  He might have moved back to Hawaii, but you can never take the punk rock out of your soul and Jeff made the decision to write and record again after quite a while, and boy are we lucky enough to be reaping the benefits of that decision.  


The album starts off with the kick drum serving notice whilst the muted bass and guitar get tooled up and then bang were off! The time out hasn't blunted Dahl's approach or style and the tone is set!


What we have is ten tracks of no nonsense rock and roll. Jeff takes a walk through his influences and there are songs that are bristling with the danger, like the aggressive 'Too Much Pilikia' or the Mottiinfluenced 'Bang On', as Dahl narrates growing up in Hawaii and chases down memories. The backdrop is some tasty guitar work from the fuzzy punk to the smooth slide and great backing vocals that really hit the spot, like on 'Bang On'.  Anyway, I'll take you back to the opener 'Kailua 5AM': Dahl remembers what it was like growing up in Hawaii and, as the riffs fly’ you’re picked up and put down as the song is brooding on the verses before going on the attack for the chorus - and man does it get nailed!


That floor tom takes a great shoeing on 'The Palawiki Street Kids' as everything is turned up to 11 and we are sped to the finish line. On 'In Memory of Kuulie Deli' we get rhythmic with something of a hand jive groove as those shakers set the tone over Dahl's raw guitar rhythm that leads us to some sweet understated slide guitar. A great change of pace and feeling.


'Bags (Bruddah Mo'o)’ kicks it like Thunders and his Heartbreakers did as a doff of the cap is made in that general direction, and boy does he nail that sloppy solo.  There is a certain sound to a Jeff Dahl record: it’s never over-produced or treated sounding (you know those records that have a sheen of studio trickery about them). Jeff Dahl always manages to make his records sound like you’re in the studio with him laying down the songs on big analogue desks and plenty of the spirit of the good and the great being channelled. 


There are times on this record I hear ‘60s Stones 'Crater Days' or Mott The Hoople pop in there: sure some are obvious but others less so, and Bolan and Bowie are as much a part of the spirit as The Ramones or Thunders - and what influenced them also influenced Dahl.  It's an art being able to use your influences and come up with something that is totally you at the same time and Jeff Dahl always manages to ride that fine line to perfection.  Such as on songs like 'Bang On', with its great harmonious backing vocals complimenting the slide guitar and dirty ‘70s riff-o-la as it struts its stuff. 


I couldn't possibly pick a favourite song for you to check out, but I do think this is an excellent record and one that will only get better over time. Perhaps getting older I'm appreciating songs like the album closer and its gentler pace and piano chops as it sounds triumphant: more a “see you later” than a “that's me done” if you get me.  I love the spirit and reflection as well as the drive of 'Made In Hawaii'; it’s a really great piece of work and one I'm delighted has finally been made. It might have taken a while but we got there in the end: now, what about some live shows? And a follow up maybe in the next few years? Jeff Dahl: Made In Hawaii, but loved all over the world! 


‘Made In Hawaii’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.


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