The debut from LA rockers Dead Poet Society arrives with all of the angst and thoughtfulness you would expect. '-!-' spans an immense 16 tracks for a journey of emotions through spoken interludes and high-energy anthems. The album explores toxic relationships and frustrations of our modern times, without ever really fully committing to a genre - or a grammar structure.
Introductory track '-!-' is a spoken interlude; right off the bat this band aren't here to follow norms. This leads into '.futureofwar.' which sets the mood for what's to come, building anticipation with a battle cry of interwoven textures. Packed full of fuzzy guitars and heavy baselines, the album brings a sense of nostalgia for the 00s alternative sound, but with a welcome outlook on the world we live in today.
Half-way through, 'I Never Loved Myself Like I Loved You' serves as a check-in point. Here, the frustration and angst of the previous tracks melts away for a romantic display of vulnerability, making it clear that there is more to this band than a fuzz-infused guitar banger. This softer side is however swiftly interrupted with the grungier, defiant '.SALT.', once again bringing punk to the forefront.
Although tackling the seriousness of topics like love and loss, it is clear that the band are not afraid to poke fun at themselves either - making the album all the more relatable. From the absolute winner of a lead single '.CoDA.' to the open and honest reflection of '.haunted.', there's a lot to unpack. A stunning vocal display from frontman Jack Underkofler is the cherry on top of what is a promising debut from a band brimming with energy and potential.