A couple of months have gone by since dredg’s most recent studio album, Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy, was released, and response to it, both from fans and critics, has been negative. dredg has gone from one of the art rock scene’s most respected bands to its laughingstock, and they may have ruined their chances of ever hitting it big.

As is the case with any shift towards a more “mainstream” sound, Chuckles has engendered accusations of “selling out,” or at the very least, abandoning what made the band great in the first place. With Dan the Automator in the producer’s seat, dredg jettisoned the rich textures and complex instrumentation for which they had become known, replacing those aspects of their music with stripped-down electronic sounds and programmed beats. To many fans, that is not a recipe for success.

But other fans have asserted that if dredg were a more popular band to begin with, then Chuckles would have been much better received. At first, their claim appears ludicrous; a bad album is a bad album, plain and simple. But upon further reflection, the claim does have an element of truth. If Chuckles had reached a wider audience, the chances that it would have found a receptive group of listeners would have been higher. Moreover, the album would have reached more mainstream critics, some of whom have a tendency not to evaluate new releases against the strength of a band’s previous work. There is even a curious precedent that supports this theory: No Doubt’s Rock Steady. More