Go Digby (Label X)
If you knew these guys back when they were 100 Acre Wood, you know the potential they possessed to make some noise on the local scene. But a wonderful metamorphosis has happened between then and now and the band called Digby is poised for notoriety beyond the city limits.
Go Digby is a stunning album that represents a quantum leap for this band. The Digby boys are more focused, more polished and more mature in their lyrics and they work together to create a sound that is extremely diverse yet never faltering in its excellence.
Some of the credit for that goes to Todd Smith, a well-known producer in the area who not only worked his magic on this album, but also set it up as the first release from his new label project, Label X Records. Smith made a smart choice; Digby has given Label X an auspicious christening.
The disc kicks off in grand style with "Minerva," truly one of the best examples of sing-along pop ever to come out of the River City. The song has a classic sound to it with equally catchy lyrics about the residue of relationships: "More to be said, less to be done/I was the bread, now I'm the crumbs."
"Minerva" and the second track, "If You Only Knew," give the impression that Go Digby is going to be strictly Midwestern pop. But with the third song, "Too Late," with its driving guitar intro and abrupt rhythm shift, we're clued into the fact that there's more to this band than initially meets the ear. That theory is happily proven correct with "100% Free," a gem of a song featuring Paul Moeller's hopped-up Dylan voice and a sweet sing-along chorus that deserves as much airplay as it can get.
And yet, when you're just about ready to peg the band, along comes "Spirit," a free-for-all ode to the glory and angst of high school, complete with the Atherton High School cheerleaders in a supporting role. Whatever whiff of gimmick the song emits is easily blown away by the sheer energy and the band's welcome self-effacement. The song starts with the cheerleaders chanting, "D-I-G-B-Y/We get off on dorky guys!" It's not only funny, but it adds another perspective to what makes this band tick, which is all the more attractive.
Go Digby isn't perfect; there are a few attempts to stretch the band's range a bit too far (like the Black Crows rock of "Leave You Behind"). But that's an admissible flaw, because it's the sign of a band not settling into a comfortable sound, but constantly pushing itself to be better. And for every misstep, there's a song like "Spirit" or the sadly beautiful "So Low." If Digby can live up to those standards while churning out this level of quality, they will attract a lot more cheerleaders in the future.