When one half of a musical duo leaves the band, how much should a band change, if at all? Dream-pop duo Savoir Adore went through a bit of a change when singer/keyboardist Diedre Muro exited after releasing two albums alongside guitarist Paul Hammer. When faced with the choice of either starting a new musical project or keep the band going, he chose to continue Savoir Adore. Recruiting former Panama Wedding keyboardist Lauren Zettler, this latest version of the band came to DC9 to celebrate the release of their third album,The Love That Remains. And from what it seems, it's full synth-pop steam ahead for the group.
Where Muro’s voice lent to a dreamy, ethereal sound, Hammer tones down the ‘dream’ slightly and shoots for the ‘pop’. This was reflected in his wildly positive attitude and choice of attire - paint-stained guitar and pants were great choices, but they’re both inconsequential ones if the band can’t convey any sort of passion for the music while playing. Thankfully for fans, Hammer was up to the task. He enthusiastically yelled out loud into the crowd, wildly swinging back and forth as he’s strumming his colorful guitar to the Brazilian-like rhythms that underpin some of their new songs.
Fans still heard fantasy-like synths in some of their new songs like “Lovers Wake”, but the band has clearly begun to favor a new wave sound, going beyond the dream-pop label that they’ve been known for since their inception. Nowhere is this more apparent than set closer “Night Song”, a very fitting ‘last song’ that could easily find a home in the credits of Sixteen Candles or Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And that’s not a bad thing! Savoir Adore wants to get people dancing and singing at the top of their lungs. The renewed energy from retooling the band from the ground up has bore good fruits. We won’t have the same fantasy-like sound as before, but a Savoir Adore show is as fun and emphatic as it’s always been.
Paperwhite kicked off the night on a positive note. The brother-and-sister duo of Katie and Ben Marshall (who also performed drumming duties during Savoir Adore’s set) performed upbeat dream-pop tracks from their first two EPs, Magic and Escape. Their rise has been a slow burn, but they already have built up a number of songs that fans could already sing along to. Their debut album is currently in the works. The second opener was The Wild Wild, the synth-pop project of Benjamin Dunn. Normally a one-man project, Dunn was accompanied by a guitarist and a drummer as they showed off their reach-for-the-skies sound that would feel right at home on top-40 radio. His debut EP, Kids, is currently available through Descendant Records.