Dead To Me

African Elephants

Written by: PP on 16/11/2009 17:17:08

Dead To me is another Fat Wreck band I've been meaning to check out for a while, and since a promo copy of their sophomore album "African Elephants" arrived in our inbox, it offered the perfect chance of doing so. But first, an introduction. The outfit features members of Western Addiction, Heavens, Enemy You, and Bad Friends, and used to be a four-piece before their main songwriter Jack left the band, and the band chose to continue as a three piece and change their sound somewhat instead of finding a new guy. They are quite an unusual Fat Wreck Chords band because they don't share the typical fast-paced, mid-western punk / skatepunk sound that most bands on the label have, and instead rely on an unhurried pace instead. For the most part, anyway.

Comparing Dead To Me to any particular band is difficult because the band cycles through so many different sounds throughout the disc. "X" opens the disc with a chilled-out reggae-intro, for instance, but there are no more reggae tracks on the record. "Nuthin Runnin Through My Brain" sounds weirdly like Kurt Cobain wailing his way through a Descendents skate punk song. "Bad Friends" made me go 'Why hello, Against Me!' in a bunch of places, and "Three Chord Strut" sounds like Tom Gabel's singing on a Social D record. "Cruel World" has a pop chorus that recalls old school punk rock from 70s and 80s, maybe a reference to The Clash would be in order here. Then you've got considerable ska-punk influence on "California Sun" and straight-forward power chord punk on "Modern Mouse". So yeah, there's lots to choose from, and while the following is certainly going to sound strange based on the above, it all ties up into a similar vibe that's present on all Against Me! records. Well, except for the album finisher "Blue" which sounds like it was stolen from Nirvana's "Bleach" album. Odd, huh?

There aren't really any bad songs on this record, but yet it somehow sounds a little flat in comparison to the bands it references. It could be because the band are all over the place whilst attempting to (relatively successfully, however) to keep it all underneath the new Dead To Me umbrella sound. Maybe that's why this review is all over the place as well? Check it out, but don't expect a nomination to the best albums of 2009 award ceremony.


Download: Nuthin Runnin Through my Brain, Cruel World
For the fans of: Against Me!, The Clash, Dillinger Four, Cobra Skulls, The Ergs
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.11.2009
Fat Wreck Chords

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