» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
The Instinct
Jade Tree

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
By all accounts, I was seemingly the only person who didn't care for Denali's self-titled debut. Having heard them by way of a side project from Engine Down, I felt their music was too cold and unapproachable the first time around.

As the sophomore release approached with a caveat that their personal outlook had altered, and that they found themselves in emotional flux with a whole new perspective, I found that Denali had matured and improved.

The Instinct is a truly captivating rock album. The songs are shorter and tighter, unafraid to let loose, and no longer pulling punches. Their aesthetic determination is still in check, as is Maura Davis' dynamic range and haunting tunefulness, but the feel is explosively modern and revitalized.

"Hold Your Breath" seduced me immediately, getting stuck in my head as I roamed halls of empty offices, shifting my weight from hip to hip. It is as exuberant as anything by the Van Pelt or Bettie Serveert, and just as skillful. Maura's voice has been fruitfully captured on the album, her icy onstage sensuality slightly warmed and replicated in brazen perfection.

"Surface" shows they have not lost the persona of dense, trip-hop melodicism, capitalizing on the best of their first release and enhancing it with the airtight momentum and addictive swagger of their newfound liberation. Hints of Portishead and Radiohead are notable, though this passionate torch song is distinctively their own.

The band even succeeds at the unthinkable, flawlessly replicating memories of the Sugarcubes on "Real Heat," but are no one's knockoffs: Denali has been branded by originality, talent, and devastating honesty. With an abundance of integrity and style, The Instinct is easily one of the most impressive albums of 2003.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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