Centred And One
14th October 2016 – Self-release
01. Centred and One
03. To Survive
05. Flower of Life
Earlier this year, we wrote about Toska‘s impressive debut EP Ode To The Author. As we noted at the time, this instrumental trio can also be found in action as three quarters of Dorje, who have now dropped their second EP, Centred And One.
Dorje are completed by vocalist and guitarist Rob Chapman, whose guitar-flavoured videos have earned him a substantial following on YouTube in their own right. Centred And One is, effectively, the second half of what was originally billed as a full length album. However, after some thought and some more songwriting, the release was broken in half and the first chunk appeared as the Catalyst EP in November 2015.
Given the overlap, its understandably possible to hear a strong Toska vibe in Dorje’s music. Or perhaps it is a Dorje vibe in Toska’s music. It’s not entirely clear – nor does it really matter – which is the dominant partner. Its probably better to consider them as two sides of the same coin, with Toska taking a more progressive, experimental path and Dorje a more traditional, song-based approach.
But the presence of vocals and verse/chorus song structures certainly does not extinguish this collective desire of these musicians to push a few boundaries along the way. Centred And One is peppered throughout with cunning twists and deft flourishes that neatly set it apart from the standard fair.
There is a strong nineties alt-rock/grunge vibe that permeates the five songs on offer here. The muscularity of Soundgarden is especially prominent, but its also possible to pick out nods to the soulfulness of Pearl Jam, the darker atmospherics of Alice In Chains and even the pop sensibilities of Stone Temple Pilots - but Centred And One is not simply a nostalgia trip; Dorje have run these influences through a thoroughly modern filter.
The quality is high throughout the five song tracklist, but the real highlight is second song “Outspoken“, which possesses one of the most infectiously hooky riffs of the year, packing a dirty, grinding groove and a soar-away chorus. “Zero” heads into power ballad territory is augmented by some tasteful string accompaniments. “Flower of Life” brings Centred And One to a rousing conclusion, leaving the listener hungry for more.
With both Rob and fellow guitarist Rabea knowing their way around the fretboard, they are able to provide guitar solos that are bombastic without being (too) self-indulgent – which in turn neatly sums up Dorje’s sound as a whole. The whole band is clearly capable of producing head-spinning, gravity-defying technical workouts, but they deploy their considerable skills with tasteful restraint. Centred And One contains five quality songs that practically ooze maturity; that hold one’s interest, but remain accessible and easily digestible. The somewhat unusual arrangement of these musicians into the two separate and distinct entities of Dorje and Toska clearly gives them – and us – the best of both worlds