Pasadena ’68 & Dakota Shakedown “S/T”
This is rather a strange split EP because, as far as we can make out, Pasadena ’68 and Dakota Shakedown are two bands but consist broadly of the same band members!! It appears that Minneapolis singer/songwriter Nick Leet, dealt with the breakup of his old group by forming two different bands and then recording this split album. The difference between the two seems to be that Pasadena ’68 favours Leet’s song writing, whilst, Dakota Shakedown favours those of Mike Hjelden (ex-of Standard Thompson).
Pasadena ’68 kick things off with “This Day Is Not Your Life” which, at first, is a relatively low key opener but eventually grows in to a big, modern rock sound. Things then really get going with “Moving Target”, which is a great mix of power pop melodies and a rock n roll sound. It’s a formula that’s repeated on “Pardon The Mess” which has us recalling really great bands like the Marvelous 3 and The Crash Moderns. Then, just as you are thinking the songs can’t get any catchier, they hit you with “Year Of Constant Changes” a song for the sun and the open freeway (or slightly less romantic …motorway here in the UK!).
All of that leaves you feeling apprehensive that surely the Dakota Shakedown songs have to be a disappointment in comparison. Those fears are immediately put to bed with the awesome “Shut Out The Night”. Again, it’s a song full of pop melodies, kicked out by a proper rock band. They throw in a dash of country on “This Is Not Love”, but it still develops into a top pop/rock track.
Songs like “Slow Burn” and the brilliant “Expired Avenues” have a foot firmly in the power pop genre, but we’re talking Cheap Trick rather than any kind of soft rock sound. It all ends with “Run Away”, which is just a blend of perfect pop and rock.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding this split EP, the result is that you end up discovering two brilliant new bands. There is no doubt that the songs themselves are excellent. It’s easy for critics to turn their noses up at this type of pop/rock sound. That’s ridiculous really, especially when you consider that critics’ darlings The Foo Fighters, would sound a lot like this if Dave Grohl had been in Cheap Trick rather than Nirvana! Now the ideal next step is that we get full album releases from both bands and a load more great music to enjoy.