Dosh dedicated his new record to a deceased friend, not to The Who, nor to pinball machines. Although “Subtractions” would make a good pinball machine song.
Tommy is named after Tom Cesario, Dosh's soundman that unexpectedly passed two Christmases ago. The progression of Dosh records is about making friends. His debut was a one man show, but with each record his collaborators fell into the fold. With his fifth album, he's compiled a personnel contributing glockenspiel, saxophone, banjo, bulgarian tambura, pedal steel and an array of bass and background vocals. The presence of a full personnel allows the multi-instrumentalist in him to take a deep breath. He no longer sits alone with his sticks, but is surrounded by textures of possibility, that make his earlier work feel painfully restricted.
Opening song “Subtractions” sets the tone for a new world, as it skronks in with muddled sax stabs and “bah-dum” alto-vocals. The layers of twinkling sonics and a funkdafied bass, free up Dosh's hands to operate in his comfort zone, pounding out a danceable percussive complement to the free jazz textures.
It should also be noted Dosh plays as Andrew Bird's live drummer. Mr. Bird returned the favor for the third album in a row by making vocal appearances on “Number 41” and “Nevermet.” Hopefully, he whistles a bit.
Tommy is out April 13 on Anticon.