Everything old is new again in the case of the sophisticated rhythm-and-blues delivered by Seattle-based seven-piece The Dip. The group’s third full-length, Sticking With It, takes timeless instrumental energy and pairs it with soulful reflections on topics ranging from the joy and tragedy of love, to current societal ills of late-stage capitalism, all while giving the listener the impression of being in the room. The mixes feel as if they’re performed live and deliberately so. “We’d gotten some nicer gear to play with and wanted to try something completely different in terms of our guitar sounds,” notes guitarist Jacob Lundgren. In the case of opening track, “Paddle To the Stars,” “we ended up going with a very dry sound with no reverb behind it, which allows you to really hear the room and feels so much more like the live show.”
The song itself is a proclamation of treacherous devotion as lead vocalist Thomas Eddy explains, “It’s about being in relationship with someone who’s emotionally in touch beyond your own abilities but recognizing that and wanting to invest in opening up,” he says. “I liked the idea of playing with the image of the immensity of the ocean, how it’s sustaining but also dangerous – and if you don’t watch out, it’ll get you.”
Devotion turns to longing in follow-up “Sleep On It,” an invitation for the sandman to carry the singer off to sleep as he only returns to his love in his dreams, and the record moves from there into “When You Lose Someone,” a story of grief conveyed in contrast by uplifting horns and harmonies accomplished by the three singers gathered around only one microphone. “One of the main goals for the album was to create that feeling of all of us in a room together, instead of worrying too much about everything lining up perfectly,” says drummer Jarred Katz.
The group having built their own space enables them to disregard time when it comes to arranging and recording, and this gift allowed Sticking With It to emerge thoughtfully and fully-formed. “It’s really important to us to catch those lightning-in-a-bottle moments when you can feel the momentum of a song taking shape,” Katz continues. “At the same time, it makes a huge difference to have this homebase where we can take our time with the sounds and not worry about that precious studio clock ticking away.”
“Paddle to the Stars” has found a home on stations ranging from WRLT and KRML, to WFUV and WMOT, and The Dip are on tour now with stops including Bonnaroo and the Rochester International Jazz Festival.