Reinvention is fun to watch. I loved seeing Mike Skinner do his thing as The Streets. His cockney, rambling, coke-bent forays on the topics of love, loss, and pop stars smoking crack kept me entertained through a handful of near-brilliant records. Rather than strip his moniker, pick up the mic and continue his run as a wayward rapper/producer, he’s joined forces with Robert Harvey of the now defunct UK band, The Music, to form The D.O.T. Together, they create introspective pop noise in the vein of The Postal Service, pre-UPS endorsement.
Diary is The D.O.T.’s official debut, and admittedly, it’s a tough first listen. Harvey’s pitch registers dangerously close to annoying, and Skinner was never much of a singer, but the slip ups are easy to overlook by the ambition of the overall record. This is much different that anything either artist has attempted, so there are plenty of forgettable moments here, made sweeter by the songs that truly work like “Left Alone”, and “How We All Lie”.
The production, handled mostly by Skinner, isn’t overwhelming and at times lulls you to sleep with a few too many gentle blips and beeps, but that’s the charm of The D.O.T. They’re not trying to overpower you. Both Harvey and Skinner have spent plenty of time in the blazing spotlight. Now they’re settling into making whatever kinds of records they please. Do you.