Dragon Inn 3s debut LP clocks in at 28 minutes, but the band spent six years whittling away on the songs that would eventually become Double Line. Combining sugary pop hooks, hypnotic beats, and huge MOOG synths, Dragon Inn 3s playful take on 80s pop could double as the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie (if John Hughes directed Blade Runner).
The cinematic origins of Dragon Inn 3 can be traced back to 2012, when Philip Dickey (leader of the indie-pop group Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin) wrote a theme song for the award-winning short film Ghoul School. If you watch the trailer you can tell its the same premise and look as Stranger Things we just accidentally made it three years before them, Dickey says. I had so much fun making the soundtrack with the director (E.P. Marcus) that we decided to start a band.
Dickey recruited his sister, Sharon Bowie, an occupational therapist, and his wife, childrens librarian Grace Bentley, to help with songwriting and vocal duties. The group self-released the Ghoul School Soundtrack EP in late 2012, receiving high praise from Consequence of Sound, Philadelphias WXPN, and The Riverfront Times, before climbing to #1 on Bandcamps cassette charts.
Then it was back to the studio (i.e. the bedrooms, kitchens, garages, and hotel rooms that doubled as makeshift recording studios). In between full-time jobs, parenthood, graduate school classes, and cross country moves, the members of Dragon Inn 3 put Double Line to tape. Im a stay-at-home dad now, so I would work on song arrangements and rough mixes when our toddler was taking his naps, explains Dickey. Grace would come home from work and record all her parts after his bedtime. We recorded all the breathy vocals in the living room and all the yelly parts in the garage so we wouldnt wake him up.
The result is a highly addictive album that creates a soundtrack for the more introspective moments on and off the dance floor, according to critic David Greenwald. Opening track What Kind Of World Are You Living In plays like Blondie if the band hired Hall and Oates to record guitars. The album takes an intimate turn with Bad Boy, Bowies dreamy Rocket Launcher, and Bentleys introspective cover of Robin Gibbs Juliet. 3 Minute Mile swoons with arpeggios and a hypnotic MOOG bass, while Bentley softly repeats the phrase desperation/bad desire. Then there are Italo-disco tinged tracks Backstabber and Club Sauce, with sing-songy pop hooks that harken back to Madonna and Whitney Houstons greatest hits. Double Line Theme and Murder In The Third show off DI3s soundtrack aspirations, and sound like lost Tangerine Dream and Giorgio Moroder B-sides. Up In The Business provides indelible synth hooks and a triumphant ending to Double Line.
With members spread out over the country (Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Springfield, MO), the group signed to American Laundromat Records in early 2018. A demo of Bad Boy (co-written with Free Energys Paul Sprangers) landed in a commercial for Ryan Adams Beats 1 Radio show before the song was even completed. If thats any indication, Double Lines culmination of six years of work is coming soon to a screen near you.