Volume 93, Issue 9

Tuesday, September 14, 1999


Stigmata leaves the marks of good thriller

Beck proves good music transcends all barriers

Shooting for opinion, not for stars

Brothers deliver pop slam dunk

Echoes stirs viewers

New Parade needs polishing, High & Mighty have strong Advantage

Brothers deliver pop slam dunk

Gazette file photo
ONE OF THESE MEN DOESN'T NEED A HAIRCUT (AND EVEN THAT'S DEBATABLE). Brothers Ben and Nick Dunk, along with Tawgs and Doug Boudreau, head the pop group Dunk as they release their first album entitled Time to Fly.

By Aaron Wherry

Gazette Staff

Two rock 'n roll brothers have recently released an album flavoured with familiar Brit pop sounds and they're not members of the Gallagher family.

Canada's Dunk boasts its own pair of sibling rockers to rival those brawling, bawling brothers from Manchester's Oasis – even if they aren't known to do copious amounts of drugs, periodically destroy hotel rooms and generally raise hell.

Founders Ben and Nick see the catchy moniker (which also doubles as their last name) as a natural choice. "The idea came up and we decided it was easy enough because it's my name and my brother's name," Ben explains. "Everybody said that it sounded cool because it's not a name like Smith or something. Although I guess that works too."

Having enjoyed a fair amount of success as members of Starkicker (the band scooped up a 1996 Juno award for best Canadian newcomer), Ben says the need for a fresh start arose after the addition of a new lead guitarist. The lineup switch was enough to necessitate a new name for the St. Catherine's band, he explains. "It was a change of direction, nothing drastically, but enough that we felt it was a different band dynamic."

Dunk feels their new guitarist, Tawgs, has helped foster the bands Brit-flavoured sound, a notion which only further enforces the Oasis/Gallagher comparison. The new band member has also freed Ben to concentrate more on performing and song writing.

Admittedly, Ben is a fan of the British group and even cites them as one of his musical influences. "They're a good reference for our style of music," he says. "But the way they take from the Beatles – we're not trying to take from them. It's nothing like that."

It also would seem that the band's decidedly European sound confuses live audiences. "A lot of people think we sound like Brit pop. In fact, at our last show the crowd thought we were from England," Ben remarks. "We were at the University of Waterloo and they asked us if we were British."

Ben maintains the band's similarity in sound to those topping the charts across the pond is completely coincidental. "It's not like we're trying to sound like a brit pop band," he remarks. "I have influences that include American bands like the Goo Goo Dolls – groups that just have great songs."

Dunk's debut album is seemingly the work of a band intent on living up to these influences – Time To Fly is dominated by catchy four-minute pop songs and infectious hooks. Sure to be welcomed with open arms by pop radio, Dunk seems ready to join the ranks of fellow Canadian chart dwellers Sloan and Moist.

Which is, of course, another advantage of the new band name. Although they've already gone through the process of recording and touring as Starkicker, Dunk are able to present this new record as the band's inaugural album. This added experience has given Dunk the ability to put together a slick and sassy album that could conceivably put them in the running to become the first band to win a Juno for best newcomer twice.

"It is in a way our second record, but it's coming out as a new band to those who have never heard of Starkicker," Ben says. "We do feel like we have our shit together because we've done it before. We've toured Canada, learned some things and gotten better at song writing. So we knew what we wanted to do [with this] – we wanted to come out blazing."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999