EP Review: Diagonal by Dino Gala
by Sam Stewart
EP Name: Diagonal
By: Dino Gala
Release Date: December 9, 2022
Genre: Indie Rock
Related Artist: Oso Oso, Gollylagging, going222jail, Origami Angel
Last November I received the unexpected pleasure of getting to see local Boston act Dino Gala open for late emo-revival gem Oso Oso. At the time I was unfamiliar with Dino Gala’s music, but was quickly captivated by the band’s sweetly melodic and passionate performance that right there I went and added Diagonal to my apple music. And then like a month later I finally got around to listening to it and stumbled on to the epiphany that Dino Gala’s emo-tinged indie rock is fucking amazing. I haven’t been this enamored with a 5 track ep since Prince Daddy and the Hyena Adult Summers or maybe Lincoln A Constant State of Ohio. It’s a focused beam of incredibly well written and produced songs, put together in a well sequenced package that has kept me coming back over and over again. For me what makes Dino Gala stand out is the strength of their vocals. Across the whole EP it’s this perfect mix of classic emo-sass and formal chops that come off like honey seeping out of my headphones. They aren’t so clean as to become dull and predictable, but not emo-y to the point where you’d need to already enjoy dudes whining to be into it. There are lots of great group harmonies as well, obvious highlights in this regard are the two final tracks Overtime and Shark. The vocal melodies on these two tracks have great range to them and such dramatic energy. There’s this amazing part at the end of Shark they pull off this amazing double-time second half that keeps the sharp songwriting from the rest of the EP while sounding ready to tear down a venue in the process. This is not to ignore the instrumentation of course. The riffs and chord progressions on Diagonal are consistently catchy and tasteful, while also being elevated by some pretty great production. I love the buzzy low end on 51 Sea Slugs which contrasts nicely with how smooth the vocals are. The drums too have a very nice natural low-end bass-y tone which mix well with the fuzz guitar. There’s also some great double-tracked acoustic guitar on Owlz which help that track to feel really dreamy while being immediate. Owlz is great because it gives the album a nice little breather, putting an acoustic track right in the middle to separate the more high energy tracks. Like the two other records I mentioned earlier Adult Summers has no breather track (unless you count ***Hidden Track*** which I don’t) and Lincoln’s Downhill comes at the end. It’s just really cool to see what feels like a deliberate choice for good track sequencing on a project that is so short too! Usually an album is very good but a little short leaves the listener wishing for more. Diagonal avoids this pitfall, being a wholly satisfying and high quality listen. Dino Gala is a band I feel very lucky to have seen early in what I hope is a long and successful career. You should listen to this album and support the band if you can!