D.L. Byron releases new EP

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/dlbyron/sets/satori

If you’re looking for roots rock that flirts more with college radio than it does with the pomp of country music, New York’s own D.L. Byron has a new EP that you should probably listen to. Satori, out via Byron’s Zen Archer imprint, is not the extended play that most of the indie community is expecting right now, but it certainly is a valid entry from one of its most gifted and thoughtful contributors. If you’re sonically inclined, there’s plenty of gems to behold in this latest collection of stereo shaking riff rock from the mastermind behind some of the 1980s most cherished hits.

When you’ve been in the game for as long as D.L. Byron has, one has to wonder where to go next. So much ground has already been covered, but on Satori, Byron manages to find some new, modern demons to wrestle with in a lyrical spectacle of evocative prose mixed with earnest melody. In his song “Rehearsing for the Future,” we’re taken on drifting along the long highway that is a blue collar musician’s life. “I’m rehearsing for the future, I’m having a conversation with myself” he sings in the chorus, as if to be a fly on the wall inside Byron’s calculated mind, where he ponders his past decisions and weighs them against his present circumstances. The contemplation continues into “All Fall Down,” a track that rollicks and swings through the speakers with a certain inhibition that is not dissimilar to the criminally underrated Overwhelming Colorfast. Relating society, its archaic structure of justice and dreadfully misguided perception of what healthy interpersonal communications are to moves on a chess board, we’re reminded that ultimately they all fall down the same. It’s a little jarring, but so is the glistening, overdriven lead guitar that is heavily showcased on Satori. You could make the case that never in the post-Replacements age has minimalist rock been exhibited in such full-color as it is here.

One thing that disappointed me about Satori is that all four of its tracks feel a little cramped in this EP format. Byron sounds like an artist who needs some space to let his sprawling anthems to really shine their brightest. Hopefully this is just a teaser for a full-length LP that is soon to come, because there’s obviously an abundance of talent that can be spread out and enjoyed in a high definition clarity not possible in the earlier portion of his career. I think it would even be fun to hear Byron collaborate with some different artists and see what the experience would draw out of him artistically. Rarely do players age with as much grace as he has, and to waste the wisdom that he has to pass on would be grossly unfair to aspiring musicians following the same path. All in all, Satori does more than a fine job of satisfying the needs and desires of D.L. Byron’s long time followers as well as those who are new to his expansive catalogue of eclectic pop/rock.

Sebastian Cole