I’m pretty sure the first time I saw Dylan Sires was this show in Cedar Falls that I had come out to see The Wheelers several years ago. It was at this somewhat scuzzy bar off College Hill that basically never had live music except for maybe once every few years someone would talk them into letting a couple bands play on their dance floor one night, usually on hot summer nights when the students were away like this particular night was. I think the band I saw Dylan fronting that night might have been The Venom Electric. They took me by surprise with the maturity of their pop sensibilities for having popped up out of the blue on this smalltown indie-punk scene with these strangely well developed melodic songs like it weren’t no thang. I think I wound up at a poorly-lit house party in Waterloo afterwards. The whole night was a surreal mix of beauty, curiosity, longing, and mystery, and memorable for its odd mix of friendship and interesting strangers, and various unfamiliar situations. Something about that night stuck with me ever since like a puzzle I was trying to solve.
Later on Dylan joined his cousins, brothers Joel and Harper Sires, in their band The Teddy Boys, expanding their already excellent and well-appreciated four-piece into an unwieldy, raucous, and awesome triple-guitarist/lead-singer/songwriter lineup, while still keeping The Venom Electric going. This was the lineup I got to spend two madly fun-filled weeks in July 2008 as tourmates with while playing bass for Samuel Locke-Ward. All of the Sireses are crazy great songwriters and all-around great dudes, apparently having grown up all obsessively listening to the same Beatles records together and all genetically blessed with spiffy falsettos, but Dylan always stood out a bit for having several of the best tunes, arguably the cleanest vocal chops, and dashing looks besides. I git to hang out with them on a couple other occasions before I came to Des Moines and near as I can tell they just live music constantly. It’s been inspiring to know them, and naturally I was a little bummed out to discover that The Teddy Boys had faded out, with no accompanying news of them being up to any new projects until just recently.
So I was glad to find out that Dylan was back in the game on a solo-artist basis and Long Over is every bit as infectious and urbane and hopeless-romantic as I could have expected, packed with irresistably gooey harmonies, post-Big Star hooks, emotional swells, a couple generous dollops of tropical vibes, colorful instrumentation, and just enough of a seasoning of cool studio effects, fashioned into a set of poignant and cautiously optimistic songs the last couple of which turn a couple shades darker and more ponderous. It’s hard to even highlight specific songs here what with the consistency with which they all hang together, but basically, Dylan’s songs, and this album, feel like that delightfully strange summer night when I first saw him sing. Summer is upon us again and it’s exactly the time you need this album.
Dylan Sires, fronting a power trio rounded out by two former Teddy Boys drummers calling themselves “Dylan Sires and the Neighbors”, popped into Vaudeville Mews on a Tuesday night a few weeks ago and treated a respectable Tuesday night audience to sparse, clean, suavely rocking renditions of a bunch of these songs. They were great and I hope they come back again soon because you should probably go see them.
Meanwhile Joel and Harper, with their new band Twins, a bass-less trio, also visited our fair city, just the night before last, to play at The Gas Lamp. Their thing is a bit grittier and more lackadaisical but every bit as enjoyable, to me anyway. They have no recordings out but if they were to whip together some basement 4-track shit I would put it out as one of my usual small runs of cassette tapes on Centipede Farm Tapes in a minute. Well, once I get a couple more boxes of blank tapes ordered up, and right after the mascara/Consciousness prism split that’s in the works, but yeah, if they read this they can consider that an invitation. Then they could at least have something to sell at gigs.