DICKIE’s 2015 self-titled release was a moody testimonial of singer-songwriter Dick Prall. After a quick succession of personal losses, Prall took those experiences and nestled them inside a beautifully-layered soundtrack that found DICKIE on the top of several “Best of” lists that year. The 2019 incarnation of DICKIE finds him working with talented drummer/multi-instrumentalist Billy Barton, inducing a batch of head-bobbing sing-alongs. And though the one common thread of Prall’s past work has been a penchant for liberal production, he and Barton were charged by producers Pat Sansone (Wilco) and Joshua Shapera to take a more modest approach for the newest record, Minus Thieves.
The restrained effort was performed at The Magic Barn just outside the small town of Solon, IA. The infamous rural studio houses the gear of NYC’s now-defunct The Magic Shop where many iconic artists have recorded, including David Bowie, Blondie, Lou Reed, and The Ramones. With Minus Thieves, DICKIE and company reach back even further into the archives of recording history by applying a simple formula of straightforward guitars of all sonic sizes articulated seamlessly with Barton’s play-for-the-song style of drumming. Sansone and Shapera’s “focus on what matters” production is achieved in a manner that welcomes you to happily ingest the most important parts of any pop-tinged record. It focuses on Prall’s knack for infections melody and Barton’s solid rhythm that may put this DICKIE record on your booty-shakin’ playlist.
Though Minus Thieves offers a lean departure from the meticulously orchestrated past Prall records, the clever songwriting is still apparent; it’s just simply served in a way that harkens back to the earlier days of rock and roll. It’s a refreshing addition, even a restart, to Prall’s catalog of albums, and the partnership with Barton has proven to be a welcome transformation from DICKIE 1.0.
DICKIE’s Minus Thieves is slated to release Spring of 2019, followed by extensive touring throughout the U.S.