By Mark Jenkins
Friday, December 7, 2012
Dance for the Dying singer M.C. Wolfe seems to think a lot about objectification. “I want to strike a pose / Like a mannequin,” she trills on “Mannequin,” which opens the local alt-pop quartet’s EP, “Puzzles for the Traveler.” Later, when romance turns “Cold,” she instructs a lover to “Put me in your freezer / Where your other frozen treats are.” There’s also “Ophelia,” named after Shakespeare’s best-known goth girl, in which Wolfe announces, “We are ordinary objects.”
Actually, there’s more to “Ordinary Objects,” which turns out to be a celebration of dancing. “When we hit the floor / We become so much more / Than ordinary objects,” Wolfe exults. That twist is typical of the band, which draws heavily on minor-key British post-punk but usually ends up sounding pretty cheerful. “Mannequin” is even a little too chirpy.
All of the songs include electronic drones, pulses or whooshes, reflecting the influence of ’80s synth-pop. But most of the music is played live, with multiple opportunities for guitarist Joshua Hunter to display his familiarity with the Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen. The band is still limited by such models, but “Puzzles for the Traveler” shows the potential for Dance for the Dying to be much more.