If you look back on my site, you’ll see Dead Sara were the second band I ever reviewed, but I was so new at this that I had to give that album a second review once I got better at this just to make myself feel better. Since the release of their self-titled debut album Dead Sara have toured with some big acts (Muse and The Offspring stand out of the bunch) and spawned a hell of a devoted fan club called The Deadicated. All they had to do was release more music. That first album wasn’t enough; fans wanted more. Those prayers were answered with Pleasure To Meet You.
If you’ve heard Dead Sara‘s debut, you were given a diverse eleven song journey through tracks with such modern hard rock music with influences of 70’s classic rock blended with 90’s alternative/grunge on every track. On paper it may sound like it’s been done so many times before, but to listen to it is a completely different story. So could Dead Sara continue on with that momentum that they started only a few years ago?
Well it all starts with the opening track Suicidal. It’s slow and groovy but with just the right amount of meat that a Dead Sara fan would expect. From the opening Chris Null bass riff to Emily Armstrong‘s blazing vocals, then on to the fast thumping Sean Friday drum beat that opens following track L.A. City Slum, we’re treated to songs that would have been the perfect continuation to the music of the debut. But Pleasure To Meet You has to be its own album, it can’t simply be another album like the debut album otherwise that would show that Dead Sara hasn’t actually evolved, right?
That’s where Mona Lisa comes it. This was one of the earlier songs released from Pleasure To and at first listen I’ll admit I wasn’t crazy about it, but that’s just because it’s so different. It has the groove that Dead Sara plays so well, and Siouxsie Medley‘s guitar riffs are just as distinctive as ever, but there is a great deal of experimenting that it took me about three listens to get past to truly appreciate. And then there’s the balls to the wall ending of the song that’s heavier than just about anything Dead Sara’s ever done which I fell in love with immediately.
Then starts the stream of what I believe are the three best songs on Pleasure To Meet You, starting with Something Good. Something Good has a very upbeat sound, more so than just about any other Dead Sara song that I can think of, which is why I think it stood out immediately. It kind of reminds me of a 90s pop rock song, like Third Eye Blind with a little more balls, like a song they would have recorded if it was Dead Sara who wrote for them (though I’m not trying to say anything negative about Stephan Jenkins, he’s one of my favourite songwriters!) Lovesick follows Something Good, and it brings back that serious sound, and it has one of the better, if not the best hook on all of Pleasure to Meet You. Radio One Two is unique to the album because it raises the intensity quite a significant amount into that of a punk song, but much like Something Good, it’s quite upbeat and it has an attitude that I don’t believe Dead Sara, or many other bands have ever presented.
Dead Sara then continue to diversify Pleasure To Meet You a bit with songs like the funky Mr. Mr. and jangle popish Greaser, which displays Emily Armstrong giving some of her highest pitches on the album. Feel Right At Home returns Pleasure To Meet You back to being a hard rock album reminding us that despite how diverse the band can be, they’re still that grungy hard rock band we like so much.
Long time fans would recognize Blue Was The Beautiful You – Dead Sara have been playing it live for years under the title Blue Was The Feeling For You. This blues song is the kind of song I always knew Dead Sara were capable of and longed to hear in recorded form. It easily has the best sounding guitar tones on the album, with the tremolo effect adding even more of a statement and it really displays Siouxsie Medley‘s guitar playing in such fine fashion.
One thing Pleasure To Meet You doesn’t really have is a ballad, which I find unfortunate because Dear Love and Sorry For It All were two of my favourite songs on Dead Sara‘s debut. Especially the latter of the two which still remains my favourite song by the band. The closest thing Pleasure To Meet You has to a ballad is its closing track For You I Am, but it’s really only the first half of the song that resembles a ballad. By the end of the song it is an intensity filled melancholy masterpiece. Even when Emily sings at her loudest, she’s still singing with more soul and emotion than I’ve ever heard out of her which I think is what makes the song such a great closer to Pleasure To Meet You.
So is Pleasure To Meet You the best Dead Sara album? If you ask many, they’d say yes it is. It is so much more diverse than their debut. Though I think the debut album had some better songs, Pleasure To Meet You not only shows that Dead Sara are even more comfortable playing with one another, but also that they’ve significantly grown as song writers and for that I find both Dead Sara albums to be pretty much equal. Pleasure To Meet You only shows that Dead Sara aren’t done growing as musicians and that has me even more excited for the future of the band.
“Radio One Two” – Choosing a highlight on such a diverse album was tough. I really wanted to make it one of my three favourites from the album though because I feel they all show differences in Dead Sara‘s evolved sound while maintaining that attitude they’ve had all along. Radio One Two is just so unique in how it has so much intensity, and while Dead Sara have had intense songs in the past, they were usually quite abrasive in their delivery (just look at Monumental Holiday) and Radio One Two is far from a harsh song and instead is a rather upbeat and inspiring song that even I didn’t know Dead Sara were capable of.
9 (Out of 10)
|2.||“L.A. City Slum”||3:24|
|6.||“Radio One Two”||3:40|
|9.||“Blue Was the Beautiful You”||5:26|
|10.||“Feel Right at Home”||4:24|
|11.||“For You I Am”||6:01|