highkingnm, on august 23, 2013 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Golden Record" is the 3rd full-length album by LA-based, Maryland rock quartet The Dangerous Summer. After a line-up change, drummer Tyler Minsberg leaving after a reported recurring carpal tunnel injury and guitarist Bryan Czap leaving for personal reasons, singer/bassist AJ Perdomo and guitarist Cody Payne are now joined by Matt Kennedy and Ben Cato. It is debatable about how much of an impact these changes have had, about half of the record being finished before Kennedy joining and with Minsberg only leaving after the recording of the album, but the album is definitely rawer than its predecessors: 2009's "Reach for the Sun" and 2011's "War Paint." While they were originally firmly lodged in pop-punk territory, they may well have dropped that tag now, opting for a more traditional, Jimmy Eat World-esque emo sound. There is still the odd pop-punk number ("Honesty," "We Will Wait in the Fog" and "Miles Apart") but these are interspersed with darker, and heavier, numbers, such as the fantastic "Knives." Opening song "Catholic Girls" sets the mood for an album, seeped with nostalgia, yet always hopeful, it also, musically, sets forth the path of the album. Where this differs from their past releases, however, is in how free this album sounds. Whereas, on previous releases, certain songs felt formulaic, here each one has its own sound. And that is remarkably refreshing, especially as it means that each song leaves as lasting an impression as the last. There are definitely stand-out songs ("Knives," "Drowning" and "Anchor") but the whole album is a strong and cohesive unit. As far as I am concerned, this is their strongest full-length yet in terms of the quality of the songs on offer, and probably their best release, my opinion being tainted slightly by the emotional relevance of their 2007 EP "If You Could Only Keep Me Alive" to me. // 9
Lyrics: From the word go it has been clear that Perdomo is a skilled lyricist. But on "Golden Record" he has definitely progressed even further, the lyrics being more mature, his signature tongue-in-cheek jokes about clichs largely being left out here. He has also found a bit more gravel in his voice (rumoured to originate from a smoking habit, but if this is the result, who am I to complain?) which definitely benefits the raw sound of the record. Songs like "Catholic Girls" and "Sins" are strong lyrically, and "Knives" sticks out, a raw confession to God about waning faith. "Anchor" also stands out due to its use of group vocals, something the band have been reluctant to do before, only using it once (on "If You Could Only Keep Me Alive"'s "Of Confidence") bringing brightness and an anthemic quality to the track, a fitting closing technique, especially as it is probably the truest love song on here, aside from, perhaps, "Sins." The whole lyrical content of the album is varied, meaning there is at least one song for everyone to connect to. // 10
Overall Impression: This is a brilliant release, and it is a shame to realise it will probably slip under the radar for most people, as their past releases have. However, it is promising in the fact that their fan-base is growing slowly, but steadily, and this will only help that growth, as well as holding long-term fans transfixed on the band. While it sounds different, it is unmistakably a release from The Dangerous Summer. No Version 2.0 here, more like Version 1.4. They have show a continued evolution while maintaining the core sound that is why they are loved. This is a rock-solid release that will remain, even if just in the eyes of the few who do pick it up, an album that is one of the greatest emo releases of all time. It may not have the theatrics of My Chemical Romance's "The Black Parade" or the mainstream appeal of Fall Out Boy's "From Under the Cork Tree" but this is definitely on that list, just more in the way under-rated front-runners of the scene, such as Jimmy Eat World and Far are. This is not destined to be a huge album. But it will be a cult album. And you can be sure that it will leave a mark on the people who listen to it and take it to heart. Here's to "Golden Record," the new great emo record. // 10
UG Team, on august 27, 2013 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: It's this band again.
Fear not: no real bias against The Dangerous Summer exists in this writer's heart. If nothing else, there is a particular disappointment that a band with such a strong debut (2009's "Reach for the Sun") has fallen so far in so short a time. But rather than strong disdain for the band itself, is no one else rather sick of this post-alt/emo revival thing going on? Where does a release like "Golden Record" get its kicks in a world that hasn't taken Three Days Grace seriously since "One X"? Yet here it is: another reminder of Hinder, Finger Eleven, Third Eye Blind, The Starting Line... The list goes on.
Who between the ages of 13 and 17 wasn't listening to a song like "Knives" in the mid 2000s? "Golden Record" is so bizarrely stuck in those years that it hasn't even updated The Dangerous Summer for a 2010s variation. This genre is so old that even the Christian adaptations have moved on (imagine that, as those bands are always 5+ years late to the game). This band is so stuck in the past, it has the recalled Peter Pan peanut butter stuck on its Epiphone learner's guitar. "Golden Record" is so cliche, Adele wrote a song about it.
Don't go anywhere; I've got plenty of these. // 6
Lyrics: There isn't much to say about the band's vocalist, other than that he is one of the many elements making this band interchangeable with those mentioned above (throw Dave Matthews into the mix if desired).
Here's another funny similarity.
"Simple love and wealthy families/suicides of kids that died too young." "When everything went right/you closed your eyes to know that we did it." "When I woke you were there, it was over/I watched you fall apart on the car ride/on the way home."
Believe it or not, those three bits were picked entirely at random from songs chosen by dice. That isn't even a small exaggeration, and neither are the lyrics. If the pattern is elusive to anyone reading, the point here is that every other song is about some nostalgic recollection or sorrowful looking-back. Indeed, it may be that every song has some element of that. You're essentially getting one song for the price of 10: check out "Knives," "Sins," "Drowning," "I'm So Pathetic"... Looks like yet another pattern is emerging.
Must be a coincidence. // 5
Overall Impression: If only The Dangerous Summer had formed and found success before a hundred other bands had made records far better than even their impressive debut. Instead, they seem to have found a hobby in ripping off virtually every other band like them and whatever influences came beforehand (virtually any of the band's critics will claim U2's guitar work is used here, and while it is hidden beneath several layers of wannabe grunge, it's there). Sadly, one of the reasons The Dangerous Summer can't be called an ear sore is because they are far too neutral to have so negative an impact. It's not that it's a bad album, it's just too dull to suck. Somehow, the phrase "I think I would be more lethargic if I weren't so apathetic" relates.