Creating music that sounds effortless, and which has a genuine lightness of touch is something that very few bands are able to ever achieve. It is all too easy to overload songs with needless fancy production tricks and over the top instrumentation. It would seem balance is a hard thing to come by. Balance, and lightness of touch, however, does not seem to cause Dawes any problems at all on this, their second album Nothing Is Wrong.
There are big rock anthems that would not sound out of place on albums by The Eagles, like the charming album opener Time Spent in Los Angeles and the brilliant album highlight If I Wanted Someone. These songs, although they are the loudest and heaviest on the record keep a certain down to earth simplicity about them. They sound raw, live and natural, rather than over-produced by music scientists in a laboratory.
Having said all that, the level of musicianship demonstrated on Nothing Is Wrong is nothing short of exemplary. The guitar solo towards the end of Fire Away is spectacular, as is the solo in the Queen-esque bounce of The Way You Laugh. The vocal melodies are at times breath taking, coupled with clever couplets like "if I wanted someone to clean me up I'd have got myself a maid; if I wanted someone to spend my money I wouldn't have to get paid." Almost every song has at least one line that either takes you back with its quick wittedness or makes you think about what a great line it is. It is not just the vocals and guitars that are amazing though, the organ and rhythm section aren't exactly slouches either.
Despite all the heavy rockers, and the brilliantly witty lyrics, the real stand-out highlights of the album are the delicate, tender ballads towards the end of the album. Million Dollar Bill showcases a real, genuine lightness of touch that is so hard to come by in music; it is like a whisper in the dark. The Springsteen-esque album closer A Little Bit of Everything, which could have been taken straight from Darkness on the Edge of Town, also displays some of this tenderness and brings the album to a close in typically astounding fashion with a big guitar solo, and yet more inspiring and tender lyrics: "it's like trying to make out every word, when the should simply hum along".
Nothing Is Wrong is a great, mature album, filled with highlights and genuine touches of warmth. There is not a bad song on show here and enough variety to keep things interesting.