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Kid Dakota
The West is the Future
by: Sun-J

Don't be misguided by the title of the album, the LP is not a tribute to rough Americana, but more a dedication to the Midwest with detailed depictions of vast landscape and majestic images. Kid Dakota consists of front man/singer/guitarist Darren Jackson, guitarist Erik Applewick, bassist Zak Sally and drummer Christopher McGuire. 2002's So Pretty was very altcountry for the most part, and maintained a warm rock tone found similar to songs found on independent movie soundtracks. The West is the Future is a rock opera in minor progressions with eclectic backtracks to progressive psychobility and slight altcountry rock.

The album kicks off with "Pilgrim," and from the top, Jackson's emotions are conveyed well through his voice as he belts out the disconcerting lines, "Howdy there, pilgrim, you're not transcendental, there's nothing beyond you, there's nothing to hope for." "Pilgrim" is strum with a careful palm mute to perfectly employ a mysterious atmosphere to Jackson's eccentric singing. "Homesteader" is cluttered with multiple voice tracks and steady crescendos that compliment Jackson's lyrical imagery; "The windmills are spinning to no avail, but natures indifferent, it's beyond God's control." "Pine Ridge" is a telling song about a South Dakota reservation, "With a government check, they go buy liquor, and it makes their thoughts dim and dimmer," while "Ivan" finds Jackson paying homage to Russia with heartfelt moments of precluding lyricism, "I might be able to accept the god who made this word, but I can't accept the world that this god made..." "Ten Thousand Lakes" is an obvious reference to Jackson's current state of residence, Minnesota, and in addition, ironically is a reference to his previous state of health as can be seen from the lines, "I didn't come for ice-fishing, I didn't come for duck hunting, I'm no fan of the Vikings or subzero wind chills," and is even more blatant in the chorus; "I came for the taper, I came to get better." "Starlight Motel" is a posh song about a man attempting to convince a women to dance while "Winterkill" stands out with its upbeat guitar and less gloomy pace.

The West is the Future is almost OK Computer at times, while the vast majority screams for Mars Volta comparisons, yet the chords are not as complicated. If not for the strumming patterns the scales would be very simple, yet Jackson's voice is powerfully calm enough to hold attention throughout the nine tracks. This album is musically precise, and a good pick up if you are interested in Radiohead-like bands.



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