It’s loud, heavy and primitive – and with their 11th album, D-A-D have produced what is probably their purest, tightest rock and roll record ever. The album is fuelled by pared-down live shows, wonderfully uncomplicated riffs, and a reunion with one of their favorite producers.
Everyone talks about how tough the second one is. But what about record No. 11? The album you have to make after you’ve released a box set celebrating your first quarter century? The record that comes after you’ve started your fourth decade as the flagship of Danish rock – with your last many albums shooting straight to Number One? For D-A-D, the solution was easy: They did what they always do, and that means never repeating what they’d done before.
The four veteran rockers are determined to keep moving forward. “If we don’t, it’ll kill us mentally,” says guitarist Cobber. This time, the step forward has taken them right into the bare bones of rock and roll. One reason for this has to do with the way the record was made – in short breaks from an arduous tour. Nothing was prepared, which meant little was left but the raw dynamics between the different band members. And since they’d been playing small clubs in Europe without a light show or other trappings, they wanted to come across sounding pure and undiluted on the album too.
“We wanted to make an album based on a feeling. So you can hear we’re coming from the exact same place on song after song. We’ve always been able to do this with our lyrics, But musically, we’ve actually taken pride in allowing more elaborate production,” says Jesper Binzer.
“This time we just decided to skip the bells and whistles,” Cobber adds. The band quickly discovered that that their original basic tracks contained a wealth of melody and liberating simplicity. Just completely unclad. “We peeled off all the layers. We decided to trust in the basic rock and roll riff. We cut right to the bone and left it that way,” Cobber says.
The band was feeling very confident and they knew who they wanted to put the whole thing together: Nick Foss. Foss had produced several D-A-D classics and Binzer says “the man’s ears are hardwired straight to his heart.” “He instantly liked what he heard of the bands new rough tracks. “Nick came in and figured out what was holding our material together. He isn’t afraid of coming right out and saying ‘Here we really have something’. And in terms of production, the big difference between this album and our last few is that we sound like rock and roll quartet. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s pure, tight and hard-hitting”, says drummer Laust Sonne. The band decided to take the same approach to naming the album. They’ve called just “D-A-D”, plain and simple. As Cobber puts it, “it goes right to the core”. And when the band plays their new material for close followers, they say they can hear the energy of “No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims”, the melodies on “Everything Glows” and the power of “Helpyourselfish”. It’s both completely new and perfectly D-A-D.
You can hear it on the main tracks. The single, “I Want What She’s Got” is already grabbing attention with its bastard blues sound. This was one of the first songs the band put together for the album, and the track that made such a big impression on Nick Foss. Another strong track is “Last Time in Neverland”, which helped convince the band that they were writing top-class melodies. After they’d recorded this one, they walked through the city singing it like four boys who’d just discovered the magic of rock and roll. Then there are songs that stand out for the simplest reasons: “Place of the Heart” because of the mix of muscular guitar and unashamed pop, and “The End” because it breaks this band’s record for playing an insanely simple riff as long and loud as they can.
Yet underneath it all lurks a serious question.
“What’s it like having all those years and all that ass-kicking behind us and to stand up there like bad boys in our 40s? The lyrics are half sermonising, half self-help book on how to have morals in an immoral way. It’s so navel-gazing it starts to look like some kind of universal truth”, says Binzer.
D-A-D leave no doubt that the tough album No. 11 was actually easy to make. Just because the band have fun keeping on, and the desire to keep forging ahead get the creative sparks flying the minute they all get in the same room. Exactly because they’ve been at the top for so many years. “We get so much in return every time we make an album or play a concert. And that energy can take us a long way,” says Sonne, before Binzer concludes with a final broad stroke: “We feel blessed to be able to keep living our dream.”