It’s been five turbulent years since The Dangerous Summer released an album. 2013’s Golden Record sounded like a band affected by their internal strife – unfocused and distracted – and the four piece broke up soon after. But the Maryland band have now returned as a trio, with clearer heads, a new album in tow, and a point to prove.
The band’s first two records, Reach For The Sun and War Paint singled The Dangerous Summer out as some of the most intelligent songwriters of their genre. Needless to say, we’re excited to discover if the band’s eponymous fourth album is a return to form, and if the change in line up has affected their approach and sound.
The record opens with ‘Color’, which is instantly recognisable as a The Dangerous Summer song. The layers of plucked guitar melodies, emotional lyrics, shifting drum patterns and soaring choruses are all extremely reminiscent of the band’s early work. It’s a joy to hear this band hitting their stride and playing with confidence and purpose again.
‘This Is Life’ and ‘Fire’ are just as exciting on the first listen. Tight guitar riffs in the verses echos tracks from Reach For The Sun perfectly. But this is also where we start to see something new from the band. There’s an expansiveness to the music that wasn’t there before. Despite losing a member, the noise the band makes seems to be broader and washes over you in waves.
The Dangerous Summer explore another avenue on ‘Valium’, a more introspective track that is similar in tone to bands like Manchester Orchestra or mewithoutYou. It’s pretty short at 2 minutes 52 seconds, but stands out as one of the impressive and powerful songs on the album.
The moodier, melancholic vibe doesn’t last though: on ‘When I Get Home’ Singer AJ Perdomo sings about how grateful he is to have people in his life who care about him, and the sensation of escape offered by being part of a touring band. It’s a perfect piece of pop punk song writing, touching on the keystones of the genre: quick tempo, jaunty drums rhythms, driving bass lines and lyrical content which reflects on recent life experiences. You get a similar impression from ‘Live Forever’, which is another driving track with perhaps AJ’s strongest vocal performance of the entire album.
From the first note to the last, this album delivers on every expectation you could have of a The Dangerous Summer record. The band hit all the beats of their distinctive sound, but also allow themselves space to grow and experiment (very successfully it must be said). Having left the past behind them, the American trio sound re-energised, passionate and just as sharp as ever. Welcome back guys.
Sounds Like… The album we always wanted.