London’s Dead! have steadily built up a fanbase over the last few years, with multiple EP releases and a signature sound of blended indie and punk tones. So, as the band enter 2018 with their long-awaited debut album ‘The Golden Age Of Not Even Trying’, it’s certain that Dead! really mean business.
Let’s just make one thing clear before we start – this album absolutely rips from beginning to end. Right from opener ‘The Boys † The Boys’, we’re taken in with a full-throttle, raw, upbeat indie rock ‘n’ roll banger which is so intense that it feels like you’ve just been hit with a ton of bricks.
You can hear a catalogue of varied influences on this record; from the band’s title-track which rings of a The Killers-esque chorus, to the frantic energy of early Arctic Monkeys on ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’, and even the emo tendencies of My Chemical Romance in frontman Alex Nelson‘s vocal delivery on ‘W9’. Yet, nothing from Dead! ever feels like just unoriginal imitation, but more an exploration of their own individual sound, which ‘The Golden Age…’ demonstrates undoubtedly.
‘Jessica’ could be described as one of the album’s softer song, with a more pop-inspired chorus and a step away from the frantic for a moment, and yet, the track’s definitely not out of place. In fact, one of the best features of this album is its variation and development of both indie hooks and raw punk riffs together. ‘You’re So Cheap’ shines as an example of this, with twanging, echoing lead melodies fazed with a fuzzing, stomping guitars.
‘Up For Ran$om’ and ‘Any Port’ knock you off your feet as the album peaks with fast-fingered, pulsating riffs. The record closes as it started, by grabbing you by the throat as Nelson exercises pure passion and coarseness as ‘Youth Screams & Fades’, which rages his spoken word screams over a blitz of crashing symbols and pounding chords emphatically.
There are few bands which can blend genres and styles and still produce a record as stellar and thoroughly enjoyable as ‘The Golden Age Of Not Even Trying’. What Dead! have achieved on this album is an experienced sound that even the most prominent of bands could hope to achieve, let alone as a debut release. If this really is ‘…Not Even Trying’, then it’ll be intriguing to see just how great Dead! can be when they give it their all.