Saddle Creek | Neva Dinova | Reviews


You May Already Be Dreaming

Author: Luc Rodgers
05/01/2008 | Your Flesh | | Album Review
Omaha, Nebraska's Neva Dinova (named after singer Jake Bellows' grandmother…awwww) spread their soft name across the breadbasket of America with their split with label mates Bright Eyes a few years ago but haven't really done much since. Coupling that with their home on the notoriously emo label Saddle Creek could scare off the un-emo crowd, myself included. However, their brand of alt-country/Americana/singer/songwriter feel veers far from the unfortunate label. Inside is a handful of honest, thought-out ditties nestled between others that seem to merely fill it out to make it a full length record.

Halfway through the song "Squirrels" stands out, not by songwriting itself, but with a simple production trick. While Bellows describes a rock being thrown into a stream and how it "didn't stop and it didn't skip," but eventually drops below the surface, the song follows it into an aquatic, smart, and, yes, kitschy production. As the band slowly resurfaces everything returns to finish the song in an unfortunate, trite ending. This small stretch of imagination, though, forces one to return to it time and time again just to hear that fantastic idea.

Other standouts include opener "Love From Below," a basic man-with-a-guitar song that is foot-tap-worthy, "Tryptophan," a slower, electrically depressing number just done really well, and "Clouds," where a little backbone is added into the mix with all of the instruments joined together for the first time on the album. It isn't that the other songs are bad, it seems, though, that with so much history (they formed in 1992) and hints at singular talent that they could and would do more for their Saddle Creek debut because by the end of the record, songs and feelings meant to be memorable are simply lost forever. Also, when seeing three guitarists (Bellows along with Mike Kratky and Tim Haes) one can only wonder what all those strings are doing this whole time.

Neither good nor bad, Neva Dinova are simply here. They are the band in the back of the bar with a select audience who wiggle and sing at the right times. They are the openers for a national act. They are there if you wanna listen, and I'm sure they would appreciate it, but, honestly it isn't really needed.