Dolphins makes it hard to believe that Mi Ami used to be a rock band. Gone are the ferocious guitar, hypnotic bass-lines, and the thundering drums of Steal Your Face and Watersports, now replaced by an unrelenting electronic vibrancy. Bass player Jacob Long left the band earlier this year, creating an opportunity for founding members Damon Palermo and Daniel Martin-McCormick to dive headfirst into a new setup: Damon on the 707 drum machine and a sampler that uses floppy disks, Daniel on the mic and keys, riding the mix. Elements of this new approach can be heard on their Cut Men and Techno 12"s, but those were baby steps. Dolphins is the sound of a band diving head first into the musical fray. Listeners can feel Damon's command of the rhythm expressed through the drum machine, alchemizing the inorganic into the organic, while Daniel's trademark vocals remind you that this is Mi Ami. Psyched on their fresh palette as a duo, they went in the studio only three months later with Phil Manley (Watersports, Steal Your Face) performing these four tracks live.
Dolphins is the fruit of that labor. A melting, dystopian refraction of left-field new age, lush soundscapes and Italo daydreams overlapping with slaughtered dolphins and the heartbreak of "Hard Up." Simultaneously ingesting and rejecting pop pleasure, wide-eyed optimism and modern despair, it is equal parts improvisatory winging it and forceful, fully-realized vision. Blurring the line between the tainted and the sublime, Dolphins is the sound of a band thrillingly re-imagining itself.