Dylan in the Movies is the type of band I can’t help but root for. The band’s founder and lead singer, Brian Sullivan, is the kind of tenacious underdog musician you want to see make it big. His story is classic — practically archetypal.
A regular guy who grew up on the periphery of the Boston music scene discovers he has a lot to say musically but can’t find a label to back him. He gets a day job, raises money, and tries to self-produce. He buys up studio time at odd hours and records snippets of music over the course of years. His project is constantly delayed, but at long last, finally, he is able to release a short six-song EP.
The story varies from the usual plot in that the end product, 2005’s Feel the Pull, is an album you would actually want to listen to more than once. The long production time may have proven a hidden blessing. Sullivan lived with the music so long that he had plenty of time to polish and tweak. He admits (with a hint of exasperation) that the opening song, “August Moon,” took a whole year to get right.
The music is pretty standard of the dreamy, introspective pop that has proliferated since the Nick Drake reawakening of 2000 (
remember that commercial?). On a pair of tracks Sullivan turns down the whimsy and turns up the amps, but to be honest these are the weakest songs on the album.
Dylan in the Movies is far better when they slow down the tempo and bleed out their heartache in thin, raspy whispers. Two or three songs on the album go past the point of mere enjoyment and find that indescribable quality that makes them “speak” to people, which probably explains the band’s local success.
Though they only have seven songs released (one more on a vinyl single) the band has managed to build up a solid following and plays regularly in Boston. They have not, however, found a label to back them yet. So three years after their first release, the band is on a precipice. They are nearing completion on their first full length album (also self-funded) which will hopefully be out this September.
I haven’t heard the new disc, but the strength of the EP makes me believe that it will at least be good and could possibly even be a breakout album for them. I sincerely hope that it is — God knows they’ve paid their dues. Still, without a label backing them, the biggest hurdle they’ll face is getting the music heard.
So in that spirit, I’ve dusted off my two favorite songs from Feel the Pull for your enjoyment. If you like them as much as I do, visit their website and keep your eyes open for their new release at the end of the summer.
Feel the Pull is available at Audio Lunchbox.