What the hell happened to concept albums? They used to be more commonplace in rock and metal, like My Chemical Romance‘s ‘The Black Parade’, or Green Day‘s legendary ‘American Idiot’, but nowadays they’re something of a rarity.
That’s clearly something that Australian punks DZ Deathrays have noticed and want to change. Not only did the Brisbane trio put out a brilliant concept album ‘Positive Rising: Part 1’ in 2019, but now they’ve put out its hinted at and expected sequel.
As is possibly predictable, the second part takes on a much darker tone than the first, hinted at by the night-time version of the original album’s cover art.
The sequel begins with the dirty, fuzzy opening bass riff of ‘Skeleton Key’, which soon develops into a groovy indie-punk track, with a musical vibe and attitude very reminiscent of Oasis and even Liam Gallagher‘s solo work.
Some moments flash by in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fashion, and both ‘Fear The Anchor’ and ‘Riff City’ are prime examples of this. The former is a sub-two-minute glimpse back into the dance punk of their early days, while the latter is an bluesy instrumental, clocking in at a little over one minute in length, melding together tastes of The Black Keys, Kyuss, and Van Halen almost masterfully.
One of the biggest highlights of the album is ‘Golden Retriever’, a positive and relatively clean sounding punk song, which, despite the happy-go-lucky feel of the instrumentation, is actually about heartbreak.
As if this album and its predecessor aren’t enough of a journey, sonically and poetically, in their own right, the closing title-track is also a journey in its own right. The six-and-a-half minute track goes through punk vibes, psychedelic vibes and indie vibes in the first four minutes before closing the album with just over two minutes of guitar feedback, which is sure to mess with your psyche and leave you with a little bit of existential paranoia.
‘Positive Rising: Part 2’ may be one of the rare sequels that actually beats its predecessor. Punk rock attitude, bluesy guitar licks, psychedelia, and indie vibes meld together almost faultlessly to create one of the best concept albums we’ve seen in a very long time.
20/All things Scottish Rock/Emo/Metal