The socially anxious male romantic has been a longtime pop culture muse, especially in music flicks — think record storeowner Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, or Almost Famous’s high school music journalist William Miller.
South Coast psych-blues trio Dos Enos have provided a fresh sonic take on the popular archetype with their latest single, Shy Guy.
Playing with the trope of the awkward, hopeless romantic, Shy Guy is Dos Enos’ most lyrical and evocative jam yet.
With a voice that ebbs and flows between the gentleness of Angus Stone and the rustic Southern tone of Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill, drummer/lead vocalist Joe Winkler uses this signature combo of swelling belts and soothing lulls to narrate the inner monologue of the band’s introverted mate.
This enigmatic shy dude spots a saucy woman at a party, and after finally gaining her interest, bails. Winkler’s lyrics animate Shy Guy’s low opinion of himself:
“In the ever so competitive, testosterone fuelled, intense and animalistic (at times) world of seeking love and lust, the poor shy guy often misses out,” says Winkler.
It’s a standout song for the boys, as lyrically it’s slightly more vulnerable compared to this year’s previous releases Harbourside and the playfully nonsensical and carefree Unicorns.
Sticking to their groovy, make-ya-wanna-dance vibes, they’ve taken advantage of old-school synths that were a breakthrough in sound manipulation for their time, including a software version of the Sequential Circuits Prophet commonly used by Talking Heads and John Carpenter.
“I totally just used [this] because I’m such a big fan of their work and the timeless vibe it seems to have,” says guitarist/co-mixer Matt Unwin. Keys player Luke Hannaford plays an eighties Moog Sub Phatty in place of bass.
In this track, Unwin reps a Telecaster called Rose (named after his Grandma) and his girlfriend’s silver sparkly Danelectro, taking advantage of it’s peculiar tone.
Everything they’ve recorded has his trusty Wampler Plexidrive pedal, which compliments Shy Guy’s use of the very reverby Strymon Flint.
They’re independent and self-managed, Shy Guy being predominately mixed by Unwin (with a healthy amount of input from the band) as well as being co-mixed, engineered and mastered with the help of their good friend, Josh Craig.
Make no mistake, the friendly, south coast grown Dos Enos are pretty far from shy. Wollongong high school music teacher Unwin hails from heavy, weird-as-fuck psych origins (just Google Wollongong band Koranic if you want your mind to very literally melt); Winkler is an earnest landscaper who’s often travelling in his van with his girlfriend and their puppy, Willy (who often makes an appearance at Dos gigs); while their synthlord Hannaford is barista-ing his bum off while tutoring at The Music Bus.
Keep your eyes peeled for Dos Enos this Summer as they embark on their biggest tour yet.