Douglas Hale can remember the moment in 2011 when he realized that airplay on KXT/91.7 FM for his band, Air Review, was starting to make an impact.
"We stopped recognizing people at our shows," the singer/keyboardist/guitarist says with a laugh. "All these people were singing our songs and we didn't know who they were."
The crowds were coming because the track getting all the attention, the dreamily folk-pop America's Son, reportedly was one of the most requested songs at the station at the time. The band went on to attract national press from the likes of The Huffington Post and CMJ.
Now, the Dallas band is finally following up on that rush of attention with a new album, Low Wishes, which makes good on the promise of America's Son. Full of sweet four-part harmonies and delicate melodies set against an often gently percussive soundscape, the album references pop worlds old (the Beach Boys, Eagles, CSNY, America) and new (Local Natives, Portugal the Man).
"The Beach Boys are a huge inspiration for me," says Hale, who shares vocal duties with guitarist/percussionist Dragan Jakovljevic, guitarist/keyboardist/percussionist Richard Carpenter and bassist Jeff Taylor. (Drummer Justin Robinson rounds out the band.)
"I've always been into harmonies, and harmonies are paramount to good melody," he says. "I wouldn't say that we are the most amazing singers, but we can hold our own."
The band self-released an album in 2009 that Hale says isn't representative. "We were more concerned with making a record that sounded cool than [with] melody and lyrics. It was more on the Britpop side. It was get the guitars out and be as loud as possible," he says.
For Low Wishes, the group reassessed and took its time putting the album together. The guys emphasized the vocals and dabbled with electronics, but still like to pump it up in concert, something that surprises some who show up on the basis of America's Son.
"This album is a bit more thoughtful, but we still put on an energetic live show," he says.
Now, local fans can see for themselves as Air Review launches a Metroplex tour this weekend with a Friday show at Trees. That will be followed with a Feb. 2 performance at Live Oak Music Hall in Fort Worth and a Feb. 7 set at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton. The group also plays KXT's Summer Cut festival at Gexa Energy Pavilion on June 1.
Even though Hale and his bandmates may be channeling the sunny sounds of a sun-kissed California in their style, they have no plans to move from their landlocked home on the prairie.
"This is going to be our base," Hale says emphatically. "We're definitely a Dallas band."
Cary Darling, 817-390-7571