Universal Dice Release “Curse’ Single

Universal Dice keeps impressing me more and more each time I encounter their music. Musical Mastermind Gerry Dantone and his bandmates are never content with releasing cookie cutter rock or pop music that you forget days, if not hours, after hearing for the first time. They set their sights higher. I applaud their ambition and willingness to contend with weighty themes, the sort that you find in first class literature, and they have the depth as both songwriters and musicians to back it up.

URL: https://universaldice.com/

Moreover, they back it up without ever sounding heavy-handed or pretentious. The band’s new single “Curse” from their pending new album Misfit Memoirs is a deceptively simple track that conveys its dramatic firepower without any ostentatious displays of musical prowess. Universal Dice, instead, builds this song from the ground up with straightforward acoustic guitar chords and unadorned drumming providing a solid skeleton around which everything else revolves. I found myself hooked from the outset.

It’s easy to be. There’s a dramatic hook reeling us in as Dantone and the band soon reveal the song’s tale of woe. We hear a first-person point of view reproach from an unhappy parent ready to disown their disappointing progeny and it’s communicated with sparse understated verbiage that cuts to the bone. The band’s theatrical inclinations are evident in the way they structure the song as a two-way conversation between the unnamed parent and, in the second part of the song, frame the child’s response for listeners. In the hands of a lesser talent, I think this falls flat, but Dantone and Universal Dice succeed where others would fail.

They certainly succeed in surrounding the words with the right musical backing. The core of “Curse” is Gerry Dantone’s acoustic guitar playing that maintains a presence for the entirety of the tune; it’s a stock move, but always effective. The music skirts the border between folk and blues, certainly falling into the singer/songwriter camp, and I can easily envision fans of either style enjoying the track.

It isn’t especially lengthy and exceptionally well-produced. You’d never peg this as an “indie” tune as the sonic signature of the performance matches anything released by A-list bands or major labels. Universal Dice’s focus on fundamentals and wise decisions pays off with a track that sounds every bit as important as its content aspires toward. It never overextends its reach and the mid-tempo pace doesn’t make for a dull listen.

Misfit Memoirs is shaping up, on the basis of this song, to be one of the finest releases yet from this band. They have experienced some lineup fluctuations but, for the most part, the unit has enjoyed the necessary consistency to establish a dependable “character” as a band. Dantone’s songwriting is at the heart of it all, I believe, but it wouldn’t work as well as it does if he didn’t surround himself with simpatico musicians who share his vision and one of a kind musical chemistry. “Curse” is outstanding in every respect and one of the young year’s must-hear performances.

Chadwick Easton


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