Originally Posted on Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Yes, I have already reviewed this album, but I have been unpleased with my review of this album since probably the day after I wrote in back in January. It was only my second review and I had not found a comfort in doing reviews yet, so I feel I owe it to just redo it and only keep one or two parts the same, including the introduction…I really like the introduction.
Few bands can perfect and give rebirth to a genre, yet still sound completely original. An immediate past example would be Pearl Jam, who practically embodied a band that could have played in the 1970’s disguised as 90’s “grunge” 20-somethings. Another example would be Green Day incorporating many 1950’s and pre-Beatles 1960’s influence (and some post Beatles 60’s) in to more than a handful of their songs.
Most recently, there came a band called Dead Sara; a band who sound like they could have not only made music in the early/mid 1990’s, but also could have competed with the Soundgardens and theCranberries of the decade. At the same time, they completely compete with any rock band out today, sounding virtually nothing like any other popular recording rock band around. With their eponymous debut (Released in April of 2012 in USA and November 2012 in Canada) Dead Sara pile on song after song after song of pure energy, emotion and talent. It is that rare album where barely any 2 songs sound the same.
The album starts out with Whispers & Ashes; which instantly introduces a unique sounding bass sound by bass player Chris Null which leads in to a smooth jam where all instruments just mesh perfectly. Lead singer Emily Armstrong, whom is another of the many female rock singers that have been taking over the genre, doesn’t use her voice to its potential in this song, but rather hides it from the listener to save it for a more shocking moment on the album. She does display her unique soft sung capabilities and her lilting style in lieu of, but not limited to the styling of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan.
The song leads in to the fast upbeat We Are What You Said. Lead guitarist Siouxsie Medley’s well thought out guitar riffs and Emily’s rhythm guitar playing make this song the happy tune that it is, while it could have easily otherwise been another slightly depressive sounding rock song like so many other bands are releasing lately. The same formula applies to a song heard later on the album called Test On My Patience.
The band is not afraid to show their soft side with songs like Dear Love and Face to Face. The former is structured more like a ballad, mostly due to its topic of love and by keeping the tempo down to a beautiful melody that anyone could dance to. Drummer Sean Friday stands out in this track, as he does at so many other points on the album, but for a drummer to stand out on a ballad such as this is very impressive. Face to Face is not so much a love song, but it maintains a tempo that most ballads follow, with its slow pace and toned down instruments, but this time the song has a darker feel to it with its lyrics and its sound.
Smack dab in the middle of the album is where the band just unleashes its wild side. Monumental Holiday is a guitar distortion pedal away from being a full out metal song. It is the fastest and heaviest song on the album. It is almost impossible not to get pumped up to this track. Emily screams her lungs out like a late 1970’s punk, only better. Unlike most singers who just scream and scream, she is structuring her voice to sing while she screams; something only metal singers from the 80’s and maybe early 90’s used to do, making for a great change to modern music. Right after this track comes I Said You Were Lucky, which isn’t as fast or all around heavy; in fact it has one of the slower tempos compared to the other hard rocking songs on the album, with a slightly progressive middle section, but Emily maintains a very angry tone throughout the song, rounding out two songs that show this is a band not to be messed with.
A unique moment on the album is the song Timed Blues, which is a song that stands out like no other on the album. Siouxsie shows her greatest musical capabilities on the whole album. In fact, this is her song. Sure you hear the drums, you hear the bass, and you can sing along with the singing, but you leave the song remembering the guitar playing. It’s hard to determine exactly how many different styles of guitar influences Siouxsie bleeds in this song; there is blues, there is country, there is alternative, bluegrass, every time I hear it I hear something different. This song leads in to the most recent single released from the album is Lemon Scent, a nice slow and heavy song with a good groove. The song has a good structure, with Emily singing along with her own guitar for very much of the song. Much like how Timed Blues was Siouxsie’s song, this is Emily’s song, for very similar reasons.
The album ends with Sorry For It All, which is a ballad, something I’ve spoken ill toward in a past because I typically believe the last song on an album should leave the listener wanting more. Luckily any listener will find that this song is more than just a ballad. While it does start off with just a soft guitar riff and Emily’s far too beautiful to be true voice, it eventually picks up with Sean and Chris chiming in with the rhythm section, and then about two minutes in the band turns in to a powerful suite (powerful being the key word) of instruments that just fill up the speakers. The song takes you up and down until the climactic ending which does, in fact, leave its listener wanting more. It is because of this structure that the band typically opens their live sets with this song.
I’ve said this about quite a few bands now, but Dead Sara does have as bright of a future as they possibly could have. This album is just the start of what is sure to be many terrific albums and other great musical moments in their already pretty illustrious careers. It’s hard to believe that in such a short time, the band has toured with such famous acts as The Offspring and Muse, and Emily Armstrong has even jammed with The Doors members Robby Krieger and the recently deceased Ray Manzarek. If this is only the beginning of the bands onslaught, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
“Weatherman” – The single most dynamic song from the album, and the first song any newcomer should hear. All four members come out swinging their instruments at full blast. With a killer guitar riff, a drum set that somehow manages to stay in one piece despite all the bashing, a bass riff that glues the song together and a singing/screaming match between Emily and herself. The song in itself takes its listener for a ride; you never know when the song is going to break out in to a heart bashing thrash tune and when it’s going to calm down.
9 (Out of 10)
|“Whispers & Ashes”||3:51|
|“We Are What You Say”||3:04|
|“I Said You Were Lucky”||3:55|
|“Face To Face”||4:30|
|“Test On My Patience”||3:11|
|“Sorry For It All”||4:48|