The Big Sounds of the Decibels
Usually the secret to making great power pop records is in how you record the guitars; you’ve got to aim for an abrasive harshness to counterbalance those overly saccharine vocals. On Big Sounds, however, Sacramento’s own Decibels do it bass-ackwards by juxtaposing their trademark candied Rickenbacker jangle with metallic vocals that sound like they’ve been run through a phase shifter—which is the perfect solution to lead singer Dean Seavers’ occasionally thin singing voice. This relentlessly upbeat collection of 14 tunes comes on strong with all the trebly brittleness of The Who Sell Out, fattened nicely with the kind of hyperactive stereophonics found on Todd Rundgren’s early Nazz sides. While the Decibels sometimes can affect a certain melodic sameness from cut to cut, occasionally they knock one straight into the cheap seats, as in track three here, "Million Ways." Overall, a major charmer.