Richard Dada, or Richard Larsen, as he might be known in his secret civilian identity, is the frontman of noted Wellington indie foursome Glass Vaults – who released their sophomore album ‘The New Happy’ midway last year.
His first solo release, ‘001’, at times sounds like a hypothetical scenario where the listener had just downed a quart of Robitussin, threw on a Françoise Hardy record and waited patiently for the intermittent bits when unintelligible French becomes something that sounds like words.
Dada certainly shares in the airy mystique common among certain actresses from the European nation-states, which, for the most part, creates an appropriate vision for his first solo outing, one where the pop artist seeks to reinvent himself as something more than just a component of his bandmates. This is, unfortunately, where his attempt falls flat.
Listened to side-by-side with any particular Glass Vaults single, slowed down to a nice and sticky 33rpm, the two become indiscernible.
A solo record should be something to set its musician apart from the band for which he/she is more well-known and revered. Instead, ‘001’, which is as reverb-laden, minimal and appropriately aesthetically dynamic as other releases from the fledgeling dream-pop genre that has emerged in the last year, might as well be a pleasing footnote on the story of the Glass Vaults’ own venture up the pop charts.
It seems as though the commitment to fully recognising the lucid has in itself supplemented the need for such basic concepts as a catchy riff, resulting in an ultimately underwhelmingly solo outing from a rather accomplished musician.