Blending rock, rap, ska, funk,
punk and pop, DDT’s latest offering, Urban Observer, deserves respect
for its diversity. This quality is DDT’s greatest strength. Unfortunately,
Urban Observer invites too many comparisons with artists more melodically
savvy than DDT.
At their worst, on songs such as "Pistol Whip" and "I Can’t
Take My Eyes off You," DDT recall Econoline Crush’s thick, post-grunge
sound. At their best, DDT’s rhythm section toys with funk grooves
underneath rock and funk guitars on "Chlorine," "Unsaid"
and the album’s first single, "Walkabout." However, these
moments are all too fleeting Somewhere in-between, DDT plays with the
dissonant funk metal atmosphere better executed by a more powerful band
Vocalists Brian Howes and Cory Perry White shout, rap, whisper, and sing
solidly, but not outstandingly. Their ability to cross styles with little
effort is admirable, but perhaps less so now than ten years ago before
vocalists like Beck, Mike Patton, and Corey Glover did it with more character.
Furthermore, Urban Observer displays an often-inappropriate production
level. Producer Matt Wallace (REM, Faith No More) makes his presence too
obvious with a guitar sound far fuller than it usually needs to be.
Despite the different styles combined on Urban Observer, the overall effect
is not disjointedness. The album’s sound is unified. Urban Observer’s
weakness lies in its inability to be unique despite its diversity of sound.