Chicago Americana band Dastardly are coming to Lansing this Saturday to play Scene Metrospace with Hana Malhas and Steven Leaf. Here’s a review of their album “May You Never”.

I’m not really sure if I can honestly say that I’ve heard a take on Americana so different than what I hear on “May You Never”. I love the musical territory covered here. “Exercises in Self-Loathing” is the standout track on this record. The whole song has the feel of a hoedown breakdown where the energy is in full swing but in this case, the energy is in full swing throughout the entire song. Vocalist and guitarist Gabe Liebowitz reminds me of Josh Caterer of fellow Chicagoans, The Smoking Popes. The song just has that powerpop kick to it. The stand-up bass is thumping and the drums make you move. The backing vocals courtesy of Sarah Morgan are a nice, soothing touch. The spacey, canned electric guitar solo during the breakdown is something that I didn’t expect but (along with the banjo coming from the right channel) makes it all the more interesting.

Things take a turn for the bizarre on “Creepy”. These lyrics like “I’m Creepy/I’m in the doorway/I listen closely to every sentence/And they don’t know that I’m even alive” is just as the title of the song suggests: creepy. Along with the slowly strummed banjo, acoustic guitar and the tremolo, noisy electric guitar this song makes me very uncomfortable. I’m sure that was the band’s goal; you don’t name a song “Creepy” without trying to make the listener feel, well, creeped out. The chorus of vocables in the middle is a nice, yet ironic touch to the song. It tries to make you relate to the musical landscape with a soothing breakdown, but it just makes everything else all the more disturbing.

“Crystalized” has the same driving feel as “Exercise..” with the pumping kick drum (a la Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons). I found a particular moment at 1:34 in the song to be very jarring and misplaced. As vocals by Sarah Morgan soar anthemically, the drums kick in and Liebowitz’s vocals pop up. It just was a little out of place. Not a bad song, just a little jarring in the arrangement.

If you’re a fan of the new wave of indie folk like Mumford and Sons or Frontier Ruckus, you will love this band. If you’re discovering this band for the first time, I recommend only checking out a few of their songs in particular “Exercise in Self-Loathing” and “Villian”. Check these guys out on Saturday at Scene Metrospace.