DoF: Sun, Strength, and Shield
Abandon Building

Dof's (Brian Hulick) Sun, Strength, and Shield is a rare bird indeed. On the acoustic side lie elegantly dancing piano lines and shimmering acoustic guitar picking, on the other clanking drum & bass beats and an occasional detour into prog-like compositional intricacy. Sans beats, DoF's pretty instrumentals conceivably could find their way onto the playlist at your local FM MOR station (the drumless “The Light Village,” which alternates between a jaunty shuffle and sunlit sparkle, a case in point) but the aggressive rhythm structures quickly render that a non-proposition. Encapsulating the album in a single gesture, windswept melodies gently blow across wide open spaces in “My Phoenix” (the piece even verges on shoegaze during its drumless second half) while beat squelch churns alongside. Sometimes the two realms merge more naturally (“Splintered Wormwood”), while at other times their connections are more tenuous. By conflating two such dissimilar components, Hulick fashions an admirably unique sound (the intro to “Scant and Pale” recalls “Hotel California” a little too strongly but the moment thankfully passes quickly) that resists easy categorization.

December 2006