ALBUM REVIEW: Dead Poet Society – -!-
Los Angeles-based four-piece Dead Poet Society lay everything bare on their emotionally palpable debut album, -!-.
Charged with autobiographical, visceral life experiences, the band allow us into their world of shared grief and joy, woven through blended genres, creating a powerful exchange of energy between the artist and the listener.
Chosen for their pioneering sound and diversifying creative approach, Spinefarm Records proudly present a truly seasoned incarnation of a project to behold in 2021.
Mostly self-produced as a testament to total autonomy, with a sprinkle of magic from Grammy nominated Alex Newport (Death Cab For Cutie, Bloc Party), this is a profoundly self-reflective body of work, speaking thematically of having loved and lost.
Interludes are peppered throughout the soundscape to personify this intention, particularly with the opening spoken word declaration, “people can feel genuine shit these days”. The first indication of many that nothing is off limits, from the use of fretless instruments, to lyrically vulnerable themes of codependency and substance abuse, the third wall does not exist.
Musically, this sounds exactly like a band that have been together since their formative college years. It’s confident, well honed and accomplished, with shades of Black Sabbath in .futureofwar..
.burymewhole. continues the showcase of sophistication, with an effortless twist of blues to match the sublime brilliance of bands like Royal Blood and Muse. The flurry of guitars, crescendoing against vocalist Jack UnderKofler’s fever pitch of “crush me and bury me whole”, weaves a narrative of intense betrayal and the bitter sting it leaves behind.
We move through the album with this story in mind, as if each track offers a flicker of film for every stage of the break up process.
.getawayfortheweekend. addresses hedonistic, reckless escapism without care of consequence, reminiscent of heavy crunchy rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of Badflower, before giving way to softer moments like American Blood.
It’s in these mid tempo placements that we get to see the beautiful dichotomy between traditional pop melodies and melancholia, with raw, frank lyrics such as “I know my face is ageing, and it’s ok,” before displaying a higher range of vocal chops comparative to Matt Bellamy or Jeff Buckley.
More than anything, Dead Poet Society are fully aware of their role as a band and offer their creation up as a companion through challenging times.
During interlude -JU-, Underkofler states “[artists] have the ability to boil that feeling down to it’s utmost essence and share that.”
This entire record is a tangible expression of heartbreak and recovery, that offers comfort to others who may feel stuck in a loop of trauma and are trying to break through.
Standout Tracks: burymewhole., American Blood, .CoDA.
For Fans Of: Royal Blood, Muse, Badflower
Written By: Hollie Garraway