I have six kids (all boys) and even on a good day, going to bed is slightly chaotic. You see here’s the thing, before the kids, I never really understood military. To be more specific, I never understood why drill sergeants yell and threaten the new recruits at boot camp. Why can’t they just speak normally and act normally? Well, the thing is (and if you have more than three kids, you already know this), you will not get anything done like that. I swear this is the God’s honest truth! If you have 15 minutes, in which to direct six young boys, some of them not even at school yet, either to bed or their rooms, you will not accomplish this by speaking softly and offering them milk and cookies. It just doesn’t work like that in real life. You get it done by becoming a drill sergeant.
So, keeping this in mind, what do I normally do when I get a track submission on a Sunday night amidst all of this? Well, I check out the name of the artist and the name of the song as well as their bio and usually, decide to give the song a whirl the next day or the day after. That is, unless the name of the group is The People The Poet and the name of the song is “Where the Dandelions Roar.”
Indeed, I found the name of the group so intriguing that regardless of the surrounding bed-time chaos, I took a small break to check out the tune, the group’s new single “Where the Dandelions Roar.” I must have listened to it about twenty times. It was absolutely brilliant. The kids went to bed an hour late that night.
“Where the Dandelions Roar” is a real triumph for this incredibly gifted Welsh band, who quickly became the critics' darling with the release of their strong debut album “The Narrator” in 2013. Having listened to this album, I must say that it is an impressive work and not just due to the quality of the music and lyrics on it. Indeed, even the concept behind the album is quite unique and creative. “The Narrator” is comprised of fifteen tracks that are all inspired by real life stories sent to the band by their fans. And trust me; you’ll want to hear these stories. They are not always positive (that’s life, right?) but the lyrics that tell them are always strong, as in “Being Human.”
I've been searching for the symmetry that I once called home
But there's no lines of symmetry here just lines of coke
A stench of alcohol and the walls are yellow from the smoke
A portrait is all that I own but it won't cover the cracks and the holes
And even that a man dressed in black came and stole
No wonder the album was nominated for the Welsh Music Prize in 2014. The only travesty here is that it didn’t win.
But now back to the new single. “Where the Dandelions Roar” is a song that starts off rather modestly but takes you on a musical and emotional journey that isn’t really apparent or predictable from the first few notes. In that sense, it’s one of those tracks that you haven’t really heard unless you’ve listened to it all the way through. As the song unravels, you make an interesting discovery: The People The Poet have found a perfect balance between folkish songwriting and modern pop-hooks with their new single. By this I mean that there is enough of each to make this track both meaningful as well as interesting. And for those of you out there who think achieving this sort of balance is easy, think again. It is not.
But the brilliance of this song goes far beyond the well-thought-out arrangement. The melody is infectious: It seems to find all the right notes at exactly the right intervals and when you are done, you want to listen to the song all over again. And then there are the lyrics, beautiful, full of meaning – recollections of childhood, that special place and time that exists only in our memories.
There’s a field full of memories behind my parent’s house
Full of bluebells that I picked for my mother
I must have picked them all one summer
Cause they never ring or grow there anymore
Still there’s a field full of memories I can see from my back door
Where the dandelions roar
That’s the first verse but these lyrics are excellent all the way through. My favorite line in the song is, “Other days I sat in a burnt-out car and I’d drive my imagination wild” – very clever play on words. And yes, I can relate.
But it gets better. Aside from strong melodies and lyrics, the band itself is incredibly hot. I can’t remember the last time I heard anything this tight that still had an adventurous edge to it. And no, I’m not talking about the production, I’m talking about the playing, the arrangement. For instance, listen to all the cool instrumental breaks in “Where the Dandelions Roar,” all the little licks and tricks (the Byrds-like, hypnotic guitar between the first and second verse), how the song progresses, the clever use of tom-toms, the very nice Beatlesque guitar solo by Tyla Campbell (check out McCartney’s on Taxman and you’ll know what I mean), the vocalist Leon Stanford when the song takes off (“Cause in my very own garden that taught me to grow” and later on “I run beside them all the way to Fairhill Lane”) – these folks really know how to sing and play. And before you make the mistake of thinking that so do all the bands with a record deal in their back pocket, let me just answer that thought before it becomes a fully-fledged fact in your mind: No they don’t, not like this.
Yesterday, I took my two eldest kids to my upstairs recording studio, so I could play them “Where the Dandelions Roar” – the younger ones followed us. I wanted them to hear a great modern rock band at the top of their game, on fire, giving it all they’ve got. The fifteen-year-old listened to the song and said, “I like it. Is this from the 1990s?” I shook my head and gave him a quick introduction to the band. He then added the track to his personal playlist and walked back to his room. The ten-year-old asked, “Are these guys YouTubers?” I shook my head again, wondering why he would ask such a thing. The seven-year-old looked at me and asked, “Are these guys old, too?” I told him, “No. And what do you mean I’m old?” The four-year-old inquired, “What’s a dandelion?”
Be that as it may, if you want to find out what the Billboard Top 200 should sound like instead of what it actually sounds like, give this track a spin. With their new single The People The Poet send out a clear message to anyone listening: The age of rock’n’roll is far from over as long as they are around. And hopefully, that’s a long, long time.
Check out the official music video of “Maggie” –another great song by The People The Poet:
Here’s a short interview of the band in the TicketWeb Blog:
And yet another cool interview of Tyla Campbell on YouTube:
You can learn more about The People The Poet here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.