Dinamo Cambridge
Ride the Snake

Reports are a Boston quartet that has toiled in the minor leagues for the last five years, releasing their homemade pop skronk all by their lonesome, screen printing by hand, and using mail-order as their preferred distribution, as if the internet and mid-level indie labels didn’t exist. With the Reports, it’s like the last 10 years never happened, as they hearken to a time before we tagged The Strokes with celebrity status. It’s confounding that their 2007 debut, Mosquito Nets, didn’t garner more attention—especially when lesser groups in the same vein, like Oxford Collapse and Harlem, were getting major play. If one had any doubt that the Reports deserve more ears, their sophomore offering, Dinamo Cambridge, expands upon the shambolic glee and ragged riffs that made their debut such an intriguing delight.

It should be said that the Reports only use indie rock as a springboard. In the years since their arrival, they’ve adopted other styles to enhance the fuzzy blasts of pop in which they specialize. Take for instance the lead track, “Turnaround,” which begins in an era that Sebadoh and Unrest might populate, but then quickly changes into distorted psychedelics (the recent spate of San Fran garage denizens come to mind). “Pick a Side” and “Arrows” follow a similar tread. Reports have the luxury of toying with these sonic outliers because they pack such a defiant punch in their execution. Nothing about the tunes is sloppy or slack. In fact, the tightness of the quartet accents the hooks, while at the same time allowing the woolier guitar parts room to breathe. Dinamo Cambridge is endlessly scruffy, but compact. Even when the band takes the time to dabble in mid-tempo floaters, like the excellent “Sub Toucher,” there’s a conciseness to what they do that’s reminiscent of Guided By Voices and that demands repeat listens. Reports may not touch upon the idiosyncrasies of Pollard and company, but in terms of memorable melodies and riffs, there is no dearth of them on Dinamo Cambridge. When the Reports do stray from the two-minute pop song, as they do on the 12-minute title track, we instantly see their other side. This is a band that can wholly embrace the epic jaunts and repeated organ drones of Oneida without sacrificing their penchant for holding the listener’s attention. This is quite a jolt away from the first six songs of the record, but worth the time spent, especially in the end where the payoff explodes outside of the central grind. The best part about the Reports is that they serve two purposes: one completely indebted to nostalgia for the mid-90s indie boom and another to remind us that even in a day when fashion and gimmicks trump substance and hard work, there are still bands out there with a “get in the van” mentality. Long live the real indie rock.
Kevin J. Elliott