Dubai Fill the Sky CD release, Sept. 1, 8 p.m. at The Media Club, 695 Cambie St., Vancouver. Cover: $10.
Dubai: a veritable promised land where the rich play on manmade ski hills, tan on a palm tree-shaped island and rest at night in underwater hotel rooms.
Dubai: four-person Vancouver-based alternativeindie-progressive rock band releasing their first full-length album Sept. 1. One of these things is not like the other and the irony is not lost on them.
"There's nothing really connecting us at all," says Marina Bennett, co-singer/songwriter for Dubai, and also a born and raised North Vancouverite. "They're the richest city in the world, and we're this band from Vancouver, these struggling musicians. ... for some reason it eventually stuck."
The juxtaposition of Dubai the city and Dubai the band might slap a grin on your face, and maybe that's where the hidden genius lies: the lyrics - a focal point of this band comprised of Marina Bennett; co-singer/songwriter/lead guitar Eric Severinson; drummer Mark Kerrey; and bass player/back-up vocalist Nic Bermudez.
"We don't shy away from our lyrics being something we want people to hear," Bennett told the North Shore News. "They're sort of playful lyrics, and there's a couple of fun lyrics."
In one song on the new album they playfully quip about Facebook and the "luxury" of always being connected.
"Everywhere you go you'll never be alone," Bennett recites. A lyric in any other song which might inspire hope or comfort, but from them it's all tongue-in-cheek.
But that's not to say this band, which was only formed a year and a half ago after they officially met in Capilano University's bachelor of music in jazz studies degree program, is aiming for laughs or societalreflection.
Their music also offers stories chalk-full with depth and meaning, such as their release entitled "Relapse."
"A shot glass and it's half full, compliments of some other fool," sings Severinson on the track, which can be found on YouTube. "With that old look it's hopeless, I've never been able to resist. But I try to remember everything that happened last time. I try, but I forget about it all as she walks by."
Addiction to a venomous love? Dependency on alcohol? Joking about Facebook? No topic is taboo to Dubai.
"We run in circles, we all relapse," sings Bennett. "Twelve steps forward and 12 steps back."
Listen to them a little while and it's hard to put the band under just one label. Even their self-described "progressive rock" sound is followed by a brief pause and a "kind of" from Bennett and Severinson.
"We love indie music, love modern rock music, there's a sort of common bond there," Severinson said. "The music is mostly rockbased, but there's lots of jazz and progressive rock there as well."
The two laugh as they remember a choir they used for a few songs on their upcoming album, Fill the Sky, as well.
While some might think too many chefs spoil the broth, Dubai's poignant lyricism, harmonious vocals and wide range of sound seem to work like pieces from different puzzles somehow fitting together and producing something entirely original.
Kerrey and Bennett were born and raised in Deep Cove, attending both Cove Cliff and Seycove schools growing up before attending Capilano University.
Both Severinson and Bennett point to the Capilano music program as the reason they all work so well together and why they're not afraid to try new things.
"We find it really nice because we have come from the same place and articulate our ideas in an efficient way," Bennett said.
And work they did. Their album Fill the Sky was recorded in two weeks inside Hive Creative Labs in Burnaby with the band working 12-hour days. "We were recording all at the same time," Severinson said. "We wanted to capture that live element instead of just playing the drums all by themselves, then the guitars, and then the lyrics. We tracked together to get that energy."
In celebration of all their hard work the band is putting on a CD-release party at The Media Club on Cambie Street in Vancouver on Sept. 1. "All our hearts and minds have been poured into this one, and we couldn't be more excited for you to get this disc in your hands!" writes Dubai on their Facebook page.
The doors will be open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $10 and albums will be available for purchase. To listen to more music or for more information visit dubaitheband.bandcamp.com, or check them on facebook.com/dubaitheband or youtube.com/dubaitheband.
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