With the second release of the Forgotten Years Bootleg Collection, Dango Rose dives into much deeper subject matter, with a more experimental tone. The five tracks of The Forgotten Years: Vol II are a departure from the norm, rising as a hybrid of pop, roots, folk and electronica. Through the fusion tones, Rose uses the music as a vessel for processing life and the experiences we all go through at some point.
Consisting of songs written between 2008 and 2018, the three EP collection is a true journey through the music of Dango Rose. Bringing his passion for music and the belief that it is a vital healing influence, Rose balances truth and harmony in each track. As co-founder of the band Elephant Revival, he toured the world, until the band went on hiatus and he started his solo work.
The EP starts with ‘Eyes Raised High’, which opens the EP with an Americana folk tone. The sombre feeling of the plucked guitar tones swirl with darkness and chilled winds. The almost spoken-word vocals are poetic and poignant as they ride the winds of the music. It is a really powerful opening to the EP, that rises and whispers in the corners of your eyes. While the music has a steady flow that draws you down the soundscape, the foundation in folk and roots is beautiful. It also perfectly contrasts, yet elevates the poetry of the lyrics and the rather spiritual feeling of the vocals.
‘Caged Light’ rises to the light tones of the melody. There is a wonderful energy to the melody that opens the track, only for it to drop to something more sinister. The vocals match this movement with a folky smile on the verses that swing to dramatic darkness. While very different to other music out there, it is ridiculously engaging and you can easily listen to this track again and again. The movements swing from one end of the spectrum to another, but you never feel that there is a disconnect. The contrasting yet complementary feeling of the single is wonderful in capturing the emotions of the lyrics, and the story they have to tell.
A complete change in sound comes with ‘The Singularity’ and the vocal sample that opens it. There is a funkier undertone to the track that twangs through your stomach and into your chest. A single note howls in the background, while the vocals are an encompassing spoken line. There are some serious questions in the vocals that echo through the soundscape. Woven into the single is a rather futuristic dystopian feeling that yawns into a cosmic void of nothing. The bell tones chime, before electronic notes crackle. This is potentially the most experimental track on the EP, with many different melodic elements coming together for a weirdly enjoyable listening experience.
‘Snow’ brings back the folky tones with a more traditional edge that is all snowy forests and foot-tapping tones. The layered vocals transport you to a time of storytelling bards, filling taverns with their song. The guitars flow like smoke from the fire, while the vocals paint the picture of the story. The layered vocals seem to add power to the story and bolster the question that is woven into the lyrics. You will be shocked when the track comes to an end because it seems so abrupt as Rose has you so enthralled in the sound.
The EP ends with ‘I Fall Away’ that continues the layered vocals. The vocals draw you into the song with effortless ease and make you want to sing along. The melody is intriguing as it is stripped-back and minimal, but really drives the undertones of the track. While this is the last track of the EP, it does not hold back with the depth of the subject matter. The heaviness of the lyrics is brought to sonic glory through the vocal delivery that builds and sighs into the organ and picked guitar tones. As the song draws to a close, a delicate softness falls over the tones letting you down from the EP with a soft touch.
Dango Rose brings an experimental edge to a fusion of folk, electronica and roots for the heavy topics of The Forgotten Years: Vol II. Each track touches on a heavy subject, but they all handle the emotions and journey of the lyrics differently. From poetic spoken word lyrics to layered folky tones, the vocals draw you into the story of each track and gently turn your attention to the deeper message.