They got the beat


Dichotomy’s members are as diverse as their name suggests, and their sound is hip-hoppishly tribal.

Dichotomy’s members are as diverse as their name suggests, and their sound is hip-hoppishly tribal.

Photo By David Robert

After watching the thoroughly anti-entertaining advertisement-laden sequel to Bad Boys and pondering getting loaded on MGD, Skyy Vodka and Pepsi, then buying a Hummer in order to drive through a small cocaine plantation on the hillsides of Cuba near Guantanamo Bay’s U.S. Navy Base, writing about a band called Dichotomy seemed appropriate. It’s the type of band that can’t help but to beat its way into a wandering consciousness.

Dichotomy’s moniker suits their sound well—it swells with swash-buckling excitement. No, these men aren’t pirates, or terrorists for that matter, but they’ll hijack your ears any day of the week. They are all inspired to seek something higher, although they’re not exactly sure where higher is or what it means.

An extremely-or-modestly-or-not-at-all spiritual group, the members range from those with deep faith to the slightly more nihilistic. Their personalities are as contradictory as their name suggests.

“Religions are just cults with more members,” says bassist Jack McCormack.

“When you die, you’re dead,” drummer John Lindell says.

Lyricist Matthew Burkes, on the other hand, chants “peace in this life” like a saint repeating a mantra or Zack de la Rocha making a profound political statement.

Over the percussions of John Paul on djembe and Lindell on the kit, Dichotomy produces a strange kind of holy hip-hop. Add the sultry and deep vocals of Jay Alfaro from El Salvador, and there’s a whole new twist. If Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Maynard James Keenan of Tool had a kid, he might sing like Alfaro.

Listen closer and hear Pink Floyd influences from Danny Walden on guitar, while McCormack slaps his bass like Primus or, dare say, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Trying to dissect Dichotomy’s eclectic sound isn’t neurosurgery, but more like an anthropological study of an indigenous tribe. It certainly feels like part of a ceremonial ritual at their shows. Burkes bounces around on stage, while Paul beats his drum into a trance state.

This bunch of alchemists has been on the scene for less than a year, but their good vibes have spread like this winter’s historical flu epidemic without all the nasty side effects and projectile vomiting. Let’s hope they decide not to get vaccinated, as this virus deserves to be spread. That’s their intention anyway, to instill progressive positive change, personal growth and education. Their six-song demo is seeping into cafés around town, and a full length is on the way.

The word dichotomy can provoke many thoughts and assumptions, but don’t assign pretension to this band. They have a lot of confidence, which makes their humility unexpected. They are guys who want to play good music. Disillusioned by mainstream, catchy pop-science, they strive for originality. Money and fame are not at the forefront of their conscience. As far as the band is concerned, success has been achieved, seeds have been planted, and audiences await the harvest.

All other musicians and bands take notice, as these fellows are peacemakers who want to build community and connect common threads among fellow instrument manipulators. Whether you like rock, hip-hop, jazz, or jam music in general, Dichotomy has sounds for all parts of the equation.