Dragon Inn 3 earns a terrific 4-star review from AllMusic

Dragon Inn 3 earns a terrific 4-star review from AllMusic

April 28, 2023

Kansas City synth pop quartet Dragon Inn 3 return with Trade Secrets, a natural follow-up to 2018's charming Double Line. The ensuing five years have done little to diminish the band's nostalgia for glowing '80s pop, which they continue to mine with pleasing results. As on their debut, the aesthetic they present is a curious mixture of noirish sci-fi and romantic sweetness with punny undertones of corporate intrigue. Led by producer, multi-instrumentalist, and former Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin frontman Philip Dickey, the group benefits from the airy vocals of Grace Bentley and Sharon Hamm, who inject enough earnest intent into repetitive lyrical hooks like "I Can't Stop" and "It's Not Enough" to make them lay just right. Nods to '80s largesse are scattered throughout the set, especially on the yearning, pastel-hued "Out of Control (Bad Boy 2)" with its steamy sax solo, and there is even a cover of Yaz's arpeggiated 1982 synth pop classic "Only You," but by and large, Dickey gets the tone just right, avoiding outright genre parody by simply making catchy, enjoyable pop music. Without breaking out of the overall arc, Dragon Inn 3 move through different tones on the new wave-leaning "Teleport," the bright indie pop of "I'll Be Right Over," and the lush and dreamy "Trade Secrets Theme," giving the album some variety as it zips along. Well-crafted and easy on the ears, Trade Secrets is another strong entry in the band's catalog. - AllMusic [4 out of 5 stars]

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