After a solid EP and a fantastic split 7″ with Parker, Dowsing is a band that has a lot to live up to. I had very high hopes for this full length, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t exceed those. It’s Still Pretty Terrible takes all the things Dowsing has put out and builds on them. It is fantastic listen.
Dowsing fits in with the finest tradition of Midwest indie/emo bands. The songs are endlessly catchy without being saccharine. The instrumentation is intricate without getting all wanky. If their previous EP was more than a little rooted in the works of The Weakerthans, It’s Still Pretty Terrible adds a strong dose of The Promise Ring or Braid to it.
The rise and fall of this record is really what makes it. Instrumental opener, “Get Dead,” starts a great six song progression. The record builds from a mellow start to a fantastic peak on “Gengar! Gengar! Gengar!,” only to scale back to the album centerpiece of “Littoral.”
Some of the strongest songs on here are the uptempo, jangly ones. The aforementioned “Gengar! Gengar! Gengar!” is a quick number that could rival any of the Midwest emo pop songs from the 1990s. “Midwest Living” fucking kills it with the 90’s jangle and gang vocals at the end.
There are only two issues I have with this record, and those are just lame personal preference things. I am not stoked on fade out endings, so the end of “Littoral” kind of bums me out. I’m also a bigger fan of the version of “Somerset” on their split with Parker than I am of this version here. But, hey, both those songs are still awesome.
I get stoked whenever I get to talk about great bands that rep Illinois, so I might have a bias here. That said, this record is everything I would want it to be. People still keep talking about some “emo revival” thing happening now. If that is a thing, It’s Still Pretty Terrible is a must have for any collection that is based around that.