It’s truly heartening to see a young group like DOP growing more confident in their talents and compositions, as each successive release hones in on the trio’s strengths while leaving room for experimentation. This heightened focus has meant greater dance floor utility and accessibility, especially for the “God Bless the Child EP” on Milnor Modern, wherein their skronking house vibes and international instincts coalesced in deliriously fun tracks. “I’m Just a Man EP,” which comes to us from the little known French label Eklo, is perhaps their most straightforward and floor-friendly yet, and it’s all the better for it.
Most of the elements which made DOP so charming are all present here, but each seems loaded with the purpose and poise accompanying a bit of experience. The skulking sax, shades of synth and rapidly rippling hand percussion of “Horns ‘N Roses” build intrigue before launching into a livelier groove of toppling twin piano and sax arpeggios, calling to mind the bespoke organic style of Henrik Schwarz, of all people. The trio offers their unique take on low-down blues on “Like a Motherless Child,” sampling both the slave spiritual of roughly the same name and a documentarian’s praise of the form. DOP manage to keep the samples from weighing down the track through a blunt combination of punchy percussion and grim, sweeping pads. Tying the opener for top track, “I’m Just a Man” rides easily on the heathered soul of Jonathan Illel’s vocal harmonies and its dry funk instrumental, the titular hook lodging itself permanently in listeners’ brains to come babbling out while in the shower or on the road. Another EP, another rousing success from this talented threesome, one that could have Henrik Schwarz dialing up the boys during their next Berlin jaunt. (post by Steve Mizek)