The dB’s: Falling Off The Sky

Princely return of the power-pop legends.

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A full quarter of a century since last album The Sound Of Music, recorded the year before they split in 1988, the second coming of The dB’s is one of the more welcome reunions of recent days.

Falling Off The Sky features the North Carolina combo’s original line-up, headed by songwriting aces Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, and is partly recorded by long-haul buddy and early REM producer Mitch Easter.

There’s plenty of zip and froth amid these dozen tunes, the jangly punch of Holsapple’s guitar at its best on the Byrds-ish I Didn’t Mean To Say That and the truly irresistible That Time Is Gone. It’s all smartly offset by the more baroque flourishes of Stamey’s output, with The Adventures Of Albatross And Doggerel and Collide-oOo-Scope coated in the kind of thin psychedelic veneer that recalls the more lysergic trips of The Move and Syd’s Floyd.

Not that this is some retro jaunt around all our yesterdays – far from it. Instead, there’s an urgency and unabated joy in the way The dB’s channel their impulses into something so timeless and nourishingly good.

Fans of early 80s classics like Stands For Decibels might well be waving their skinny ties in salute.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.