Doja is a collective consisting of long-time friends, Brad Desjardins on drums and vocals, Ricky Lawrie on guitar and vocals, and Steve Kalkman on bass. They’ve been actively playing music together since they were in their early adolescence and that becomes very clear in how tight they are across their new album’s 10 tracks.
In 2012, they released their first EP, Set And Setting. There is obvious progression between that EP and It’s Me, You, recently released on Plastic Magic Records. While their core sound is the same, none of the five EP tracks are carried over. Instead, they have an entirely new track list which, for the most part, is much lighter in tone.
On It’s Me, You, Doja are still in search of that one breakthrough radio hit. However, the album itself is a very satisfying listen with a sound that’s heavily influenced by bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have that west coast funk dialed in.
Producer Conor Barclay, who’s also relatively new to the scene, has shown his own talent here. The improvement in all aspects with this full length over the EP can likely be attributed to his input. The difference is like going from a demo to radio-ready production.
Also notable is the clean recording and mixing. It’s a polished album, for sure.
However, as a cohesive compilation, there isn’t one motif tying the tracks together. What does make the album as a whole is their sound. It’s particularly infectious as a summer album as it traverses from song to song, with each track seemingly made for sitting around a beach pit fire with your friends as the sun works itself towards dusk.
The laid-back melodic sound couldn’t be more apparent from the very start. It’s Me, You opens with “In The Water.” In it Lawrie’s vocals slide along with the slow-flowing melody, then are followed by strong backing vocals.
“Way It Goes” is a true gem, and stands above the rest. There’s a progression as the song moves along and by the end their instruments are just flying.
In “Mt. Doug,” Lawrie delivers the vocals with a punch, broken in sections by the spectacular high-pitched reverb strummed through by the bass.
Then “Tolja” rolls in: an upbeat track with a rushing chorus. This is the song that will make you want to crank the volume and it could easily be the first single. As the track nears its last third, that chorus comes in hard to power through the remainder of the track.
Much of the album is this way, just really good sounding songs. However, the one issue that I have comes in the last three tracks. Through most the album you can hear a lightness but then it transitions to a heavier, darker tone. It’s not that they aren’t good songs, but the album could have been stronger with a different track placement.
It’s Me, You is an enjoyable album, thick with a strong sound. While they may need another album to really make it, It’s Me, You gives Doja some traction and sets the stage to reach the next level of success.