The majority of music fans equate dark alternative rock with gritty UK industrial towns instead of southern California. Los Angeles is known for its sunny climate, after all. Emerging indie darkwave/post-punk band Dignitary certainly has more of a European sound than most L.A. groups, yet there is a brightness in “Quite Like You” that adds to their immediate appeal. They perfectly capture the feel of “sunny day rain” that The Jesus and Mary Chain sang about. The song’s tone isn’t Smiths- or The Cure-level gloomy, though an air of wistful melancholy is pervasive, as if Robert Smith visited a beach and stared at the sea in broad daylight.
The jangly guitar work invites obvious comparisons to Echo and the Bunnymen or The Psychedelic Furs, but it’s clear that Dignitary is not a product of emulation. Lead singer Mike Cuenca has the cadence of Ian McCulloch, but the timbre of his honeyed baritone vocals is more akin to The National’s Matt Beringer in terms of its intimate warmth. It’s that richness combined with the ethereal backing vocals that gives the song a smoky, psychedelic allure. “Everything old is new again,” as the idiom goes. That’s the case here: while Dignitary may draw a certain degree of inspiration from the mid-‘80s New Wave sound, they deftly put their own spin on things, creating a modern sound with retro leanings.
Following up The Tautology, their five-song EP released last October, Dignitary has released this new single ahead of their forthcoming new LP. With its new wave-inspired hooks and lush layers, “Quite Like You” is irresistibly catchy.
The full-length album, Full Moon in Vertigo, releases May 16. It is available for pre-order from their Bandcamp page. Fans wanting to hear this song performed live can catch the band early next month in Portland, OR and Las Vegas.
Dignitary are Mike Cuenca (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Gabe Huerta (guitars, backing vocals), and Fallon Scherzinger (bass, backing vocals, keys).
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