Mesmerizing. That seems like the most apt word to describe Dijon’s debut album, Absolutely. Its 12 tracks run a little over half an hour, and many of them feel almost bare. But the raw production on this record perfectly illustrates the idiosyncrasies of Dijon’s style. That’s not to say that the production feels inadequate, quite the opposite, rather.
For example, take the ninth track from Absolutely, “Talk Down.” It is one of the more soft-spoken songs on the project, but the production still shines through. The percussion blends nicely with the subtle guitar and piano and creates a laid back but still dynamic feel, which has become something of a Dijon specialty.
Another strength of the album is Dijon’s ability to meld his personal experiences with unifying messages to his listeners. On “The Dress,” he describes a past relationship and ends the chorus poetically singing, “We should go out and dance like we used to dance / We should go out and hold hands like lovers hold hands / And I can’t tell you who’s gonna last.”
On “Scratching,” he sings, “I know that I cannot change it / And it can’t be undone / Shadows stretchin’ and scratchin’ at your heels where you run.” While there are certainly lines that may seem vague to many listeners, Dijon always provides some universal idea that his listeners can walk away with.
One of the most entertaining songs on the album is “Big Mike’s,” the very first track on Absolutely. It is by far the longest song on the record at four minutes and 35 seconds. The live version even runs over seven minutes, and this version might best capture the authenticity that this album was clearly made with.
The live video starts at an almost plodding pace, but Dijon and his band build and layer the song with percussion; electric, slide, and lap steel guitars; bass; and piano until it becomes a flowing, hypnotic, sonic landscape that Bon Iver—who Dijon happens to be going on tour with next year—would be proud of. And it all seems so effortless. Dijon casually walks around the room, interacting with his band and soulfully belting out his lyrics—it’s clear he’s just having fun.
He’s there to guide his listeners through an intricate and intimate experience that often isn’t the focus of so many modern musicians. As his fan base grows and learns more about his style, it will excitedly anticipate more live versions of the tracks from Absolutely.
Featured Image Courtesy of Warner Records Press