Last year San Francisco rockers Tino Drima, comprised of Gregory DiMartino, Rob Mills, Mackenzie Bunch, and Scott Huerta, released Her Kind of Man. Tino will be hitting up the SXSW Music Festival to share his brand of inventive dream rock with the hordes of happy music lovers. As hard as I tried to listen to Her Kind of Man passively, like strangling aquatic flora, it pulled me under, into its utopic sonic reverie.
The opening track, “Bummer,” is an alternatingly wild and dreamy guided tour through a warbling post-disillusionment. It has moments of deja acouté and a grand brand nouveau sound. Horns make a jolly appearance as guitar strums take turns with Gregory’s silver lamé vocals. It moves like an energetic narcoleptic, and reminds the listener that each day holds something worth seizing.
With vocals seemingly teleported from a time in the last century when there was much more twill in the world and people were more familiar with the current state of certain commodities, “Brutal Earthquake” is a song that takes up space. With lyrics that splatter in your brain like a melted banana parfait, Gregory’s vocals convey a sentiment that seems to be shared these days: a bemoaning of the present coupled with a yearning for an earlier, perhaps even purer, version of life that can never be duplicated, but if you’re game, can breathe life into a more vibrant, informed future.
“Time with My Baby” is a fun track that bounces and leaps with a doo-wop flavor and a post-punk texture. Through the song, Gregory pleads over raucous drums and four-wheel driving guitar for some time with his baby. Whether he’s talking about a guitar or a person is unclear, not that that matters. Then, as if tuckered out by the bombastic extroversion, Gregory pulls inward in “Angels,” communing with the microphone like a worm with compost.
The beat slows to a romantic stroll for “Pretty Wonder,” an ambling track with the expansiveness of something Adanowsky might do. Horns breathe life into the song like a Baywatch lifeguard, as if they could contribute to Gregory’s remarkable tidal capacity. Here, there are hints of genius of the sort that are partly due to a genetic predisposition to musicianship, the other part being a lot of hard work and the sort of behavior that labels one an eccentric.
“Drives Me Crazy” keeps up a continuous knocking, around which swirls the guitar melody, reminiscent of something that came from the 80’s. The song is emblematic of the times we live in, with a portion of the population more self-aggrandizing than ever, and in a very public way, while another portion of the population sits and scrolls, comparing their lives with the pixelated propaganda of their peers in a time dumpster of inadequacy. Don’t be afraid to like others, but never forget to live in every dimension you can find. The next track, “Rock n Roll Girlfriend,” is easygoing in a way that reminds me of transient friendships, used cars, and cold cuts. The song ends in a hullabaloo of sound, chaotic and hypnotic.
The title track is like working a drive-thru, getting a glimpse into different people’s vehicles, a snapshot of their lives and their automotive hygiene. The vocals begin small and humble, but soon enough, the soul is unleashed in such totality, it is scintillatingly, brilliantly, bone-chillingly Good. “Her Kind of Man” leaves me decomposed and deconstructed, a pile of Legos on the living room floor. After taking a moment to blink at the daylight, I am ready for more.
Listening to Her Kind of Man is like standing on the shore and letting the waves bury your feet in the sand. It pulses in a very alive way that strikes the perfect balance between anticipation and ecstasy. Listen to Tino Drima and if you find yourself at SXSW, make plans to attend their show. Prepare to be enthralled.