Statistics is the solo project of singer-songwriter, Denver Dalley. His latest release, Peninsula, is reminiscent of the electronic infused rock-n-roll that defined his decade-old debut. But Statistics has matured into something vast, detailed, and deliberate, drawing inspiration from all corners of Dalley’s nomadic musical career.
Dalley grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He began making music in junior high, playing punk-rock loudly in garages with friends. After a series of moves (to Nashville, then to New York), Dalley found himself back in Nebraska to attend college at Creighton University. There, he was reunited with childhood friends, Ian McElroy and Matt Baum, aspiring musicians themselves, and the three soon began plotting their rock band future.
Joined by Dalley’s other childhood friend, Conor Oberst, the group called themselvesDesaparecidos. Their first and only album, Read Music/Speak Spanish, was released onSaddle Creek Records in 2002 and was praised for its emotional energy and raw production. With Dalley as principal songwriter, the Desaparecidos sound (at the time noted for its contrast to Oberst’s work with Bright Eyes) drew from Dalley’s love for the experimental spasms of the Pixies’ and the immediacy of Weezer’s Pinkerton, all while honoring the band’s roots in the Midwestern punk scene.
Bright Eyes’ increasing fame slowed Desaparecidos’ momentum, and the friends took time to focus on other projects. Dalley began experimenting with new sounds and instrumentation, especially electronic elements, eventually compiling his ideas into a solo project, dubbed Statistics. Dalley’s musical tinkering defined his self-titled EP, released in 2003. Two more albums followed, 2004’s Leave Your Name and 2005’s Often Lie, but by his third release, Dalley found himself burnt out, uninspired, and tired of a solo career.
Refocusing his energies, Dalley began licensing his music, and eventually composed scores for ads and feature length films. He also began touring with several national acts as part of their backing bands, reveling in the chance to lend creative support without having to call the shots. Dalley’s time as a “hired gun,” playing guitar for poppy Sean Na Na
, taking up bass to play with funky Har Mar Superstar
and the folky Watson Twins
, proved incredibly fruitful, as it forced him to act as a sonic chameleon, adapting to different styles, and learning along the way.
It’s been 8 years since the last Statistics album. Peninsula has been in the works for the past 5. But it doesn’t sound labored or meticulous. The album is instead made up of songs that have stood the test of time, that are at once nostalgic and cutting edge. The experimentalism that made that first EP so exciting is back, now grounded in Dalley’s eclectic experience and a fresh coat of pop polish. The grooving “Take the Lead,” featuring Har Mar Superstar, could easily have been a single off of Justin Timberlake’s Justified, while the smooth and slightly eerie instrumentation of “Nineteen-Ninety-Nine” perfectly encapsulates Y2K paranoia. A mellow cover of Rilo Kiley’s “Picture of Success” rounds out the record, its sparse arrangement showcasing Dalley’s subtle vocal power.
Peninsula feels like a new beginning, but it is in fact the completed whole of a career composed of many movements (both literal and figurative). It will be available for free download from *Afternoon Records*. It’s something to sample and something to share. Hello, good to see you, we’d like to re-introduce you to your old friend, Statistics.