Dashboard Saints

South Florida bands must have a preoccupation with auto interiors. How else to explain the striking similarity in the handles of two bands that reside in such close proximity — Boca's Dashboard Confessional and Miami's Dashboard Saints? No matter; both have made names for themselves, although admittedly the latter has yet to accumulate the kudos — national and otherwise — that Dashboard Confessional has achieved. Regardless, Dashboard Saints' sophomore set, Little Bits & Pieces, may help spread the word, if for no other reason than it offers the potpourri of styles that its ramshackle title suggests. Not surprisingly, they reflect the diversity South Florida is so tirelessly trumpeted for, given an album that rambles to far-flung extremes, from swaying tropical rhythms (the title track, "Cuba Libre") to casual hints of country ("It's Love") and R&B ("Highwire"). What's more unusual, however, is how they seem so connected to old-school precepts. In fact, some of these songs sound as if they emerged from a '70s time warp of sorts. For example, the brassy bits on "You Will Find" bring to mind the horns of Chicago or Blood, Sweat & Tears, while the opening riff of the self-aggrandizing "Dashboard Saints" carries more than a hint of the Doobie Brothers. But the most intriguing entry proves to be the sinewy croon of "Things Could Be Worse," a sardonic poke at an ex who refused to clean his hair out of the sink. There's no telling how many ex-lovers were used as inspiration for songs on this album, but apparently, these Saints know something of sinners.

 
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