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October 27, 2003

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Denali is fronted by one of the more gorgeous voices in all of indie rock-dom, Maura Davis, sister to Engine Down's Keeley Davis [who also plays in this band]. Their self-titled debut on Jade Tree records was an absolute romp with it's wonderfully infectious hooks and Maura's own classically trained sex-a-licious voice.

On Instinct, the band further produces blaring melodies with energetic drums and even a bit of sampling. For some reason, track eight, "Normal Days," is symmetrical to track 8 on self-titled in terms of kicking ass. You can definitely feel the heavy Engine Down style riffing, with Maura's critically acclaimed Beth Gibbons-esque [of Portishead] voice crooning over the piece. The only real complaint I can have about this record is that it's a bit short, and discerning sometimes between the songs can be somewhat of a challenge.

Nothing really feels quite forced on this album, whether it be the superfluous keyboards, or oddball samples that somehow find their niche at the beginning of songs. This band definitely has a bright future ahead of them, and hopefully Keeley can still be able to share time with both bands, because Engine Down is pretty fucking fantastic too. If you can handle a bit of the sameness occasionally, and love a beautiful female voice leading a great indie rock band, this is your savior.


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