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The Sound of Pure Britpop, Texas-Style

The Texas indie-pop band Dynah prioritizes hooks over experimental innovation.
The Texas indie-pop band Dynah prioritizes hooks over experimental innovation.

For the past few years, Dynah has been a little-known staple of Texas’ tight-knit circle of pop-friendly clubs, but the band recently got more methodical about its career, retreating to the studio while seemingly reflecting on everyone from Mick Ronson and Johnny Marr to Radiohead. Wake, Dynah’s sophomore album, represents a potent distillation of its influences -- awash in atmospheric soul, with zero filler.

Saudi-born singer Rion Bsales is a classically trained pianist and a relative newcomer to Western pop culture, arriving in the U.S. only 10 years ago. Dynah's bassist is from Stratford-upon-Avon, its guitarist is from Baltimore, and its drummer is from Austin, but the group's sound is pure Britpop: impeccably polished and vaguely reminiscent of the bands that dominated college radio 10 or 15 years ago.

Like much of Wake, "How To" showcases simple hooks more than exceptional instrumental technique or especially insightful lyrics, but anyone who's tried to crank this stuff out for a living knows that writing a great pop song is no mean feat. And "How To" is a great pop song.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Brown
David Browne is a contributing editor of Rolling Stone and the author of Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth and Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Spin and other outlets. He is currently at work on Fire and Rain, a book that will track the lives and careers of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young during the pivotal year of 1970.