Label: Infectious BMG
Released: 26th January 2018
Dead! walk a fine line between style and substance on their first full-length effort. Since forming on the south coast a few years ago, the rock outfit have steadily crafted a brand for themselves, running an impressive DIY operation not limited to hand making their own merch and artwork (bassist Sam Chappell created the cover for the album). Bringing a bucket load of rip-roaring guitar action to the mix, this crowning product is a strong hello, but has its flaws.
Belonging to the bracket of millennials who are old enough to remember the advent of social media culture as it is today and the world which came before it, but were just shy of growing up in the 90s, the album centres around the band’s recurring motif of a ‘damned restless future’. Over 12 tracks, songwriter/vocalist Alex Mountford attempts to realise his distaste for a generation which puts itself first, and individuals who don’t consider the broader societal impacts of their decisions.
All crashing cymbals and vocals fuzzed up to biting point, ‘The Boys † The Boys’ sets the precedent. Sheer, unabashed volume is Dead!’s signature move (if the exclamation point weren’t a clue) but with everything at full blast, important details dissolve into the background. The title track in particular feels like it should be packing some raw, from-the-heart lyrical content, but whatever point Mountford wants to get across is either too watered down, or non-existent from the start.
However, delivering some blinding pop-punk-stroke-grunge belters with luxurious rock’n’roll swagger is no sweat at all for the foursome. Juggernaut ‘Off White Paint’ grumbles like a juvenile Royal Blood, while live favourite ‘You’re So Cheap’ swaps booming bass for wobbly reverb and a churning teen temper. And try getting ‘Jessica’ out of your head after just one spin. With this record Dead! have taken themselves to the next level from being just another up-and-coming rock group. Where their passion and ambition take them next remains to be seen. Alex Cabré