Although the jangling yet edgy, offbeat but super-melodic power pop jam Dose is technically the second solo album of a trilogy by longtime Vulture Whale and Wes McDonald drummer Jake Weitzman (dba Jaco), its infectious high energy boom is actually the latest result of his seamless, ever-crackling partnership with Lester Nuby, a production master who also handles the nearly non-stop, though rhythmically varied punch of electric guitars; Weitzman is the visionary singer songwriter who contributes drums, rhythm guitar and keyboard elements.
Musically, it’s all highly engaging rock and roll, but fairly early in the tracking, just as we’re finding ourselves sucked hard into that ear poppin’ flow, they follow bustling mid-tempo gems like “Outer Space” and “Weigh You” with take a sparkling detour into tropical lounge territory with the romantic, lilting and laid back “Bluebird,” complete with a prominent, delightfully jazzy vibraphone element. Weitzman offers the disclaimer that it’s his riskiest tune on the collection because of its intimate arrangement and more prominent, emotionally vulnerable vocals. Yet for some, it may just be the most appealing and tenderly honest moment amidst a sea of magnificent, slightly more freewheeling fire.
Contrasting dreamy wordless vocals and hefty drumming at the start, “In The Sea” ultimately has a similar dreamy, easy flowing, spaced out vibe as well as it musically and lyrically juxtaposes hopelessness and awe.
If you listen straight through- and you should, because you’ll find you’ll want the full Dose - the collection’s two most salient features are the way Nuby modulates darkness and light (and other moods along the spectrum) via his electric guitar and the (apologies to Steely Dan) pretzel logic of Weitzman’s lyrics – all so incredibly vivid and visually dynamic and descriptive but often playfully abstract, full of non-sequiturs and jigsawed phrases you’ll have a helluva fun time trying to wrap your brain around (not that you have to, but give it a shot). There’s lots of introspection, self-reflection, advice for achieving a more fulfilling, openminded existence, even a tad of sociopolitical consciousness.
Yet by design, it’s up to us to figure out which song fits which theme. As Weitzman says, “Lyrically, I have always enjoyed ambiguity in songs I like, and I have maintained that somewhat with my own material. I don’t think many of us want the meanings or artists’ intentions of our favorite songs revealed. Like a lot of people, I’m sure, it’s always been more fun, powerful and way more consoling for me to project my own relationship or situation onto a song."