Dikembe’s debut EP Chicago Bowls is a miracle in every sense of the word. In just four tracks – totaling less than ten minutes – the quartet establish their place in the genre of twinkly emo-rock with an impressively poignant release. Though the release is roughly two years old, the EP was given the vinyl treatment recently by label Tiny Engines, resulting in a brand new remastered edition.
What’s always nice about retooled editions of excellent music is that the general outline of the song is technically sound – it’s just the overall production that’s changed. With this new version of the EP, the bass lines are more distinguishable and the guitars are cleaner, yet still keep their overall gritty charm. Another plus in the enhanced production is that Steven Gray’s vocals aren’t the main focus of the mix this time around. His vocal work remains as passionate as the original version, but now that the instruments are equally layered, it allows for a much more consistent listen.
There is one unfortunate quality of the new mixes, however: the lack of Freaks & Geeks samples. “Scottie Spliffen”’s usage of Jason Segel’s wistful, coming-of-age quote in the cult Judd Apatow-produced show was one of the main reasons the song was one of my favorite tracks of 2011. Not to mention, a follow-up quote from the same episode was an enjoyable way to cap off the release. However, it’s forgivable that the label wasn’t able to obtain the rights. It’s not their fault; it just wasn’t meant to be.
Overall, the new masters of Chicago Bowls only improve on the already great tracks that Dikembe put out less than two years ago. If you’ve been sleeping on the Gainesville, Florida quartet for this long, stop. Take a listen, see them live and fall in love with the genre all over again.
Check Out: “Scottie Spliffen,” “Tony Kukush”
For Those Who Rock:
American Football‘s Self-Titled EP
Hey Mercedes‘ Self-Titled EP
You Blew It‘s Grow Up, Dude!