Monday, 23 May 2016

Album Review: In The Margins by The Dead Anyways


Fun fact: Dave from South London punk rockers The Dead Anyways was the first person to ever ask me to review an album. Before then I'd only ever written about albums I'd found myself. Someone requesting that I review their album was a pretty big deal for me and gave me a whole lot more confidence in my writing. So thanks Dave, this whole Colin's Punk Rock World thing that has taken over my life is down to you!

I tell you this little fun fact because Dave got in touch again recently to ask me to review The Dead Anyways newest release - their first full length record, In The Margins, released on the always excellent 13 Stitches Records.


First up we have a track named Faceless Reminders Of Home. The thing that struck me immediately was singer and guitarist Dave's vocals, singing in nobody's accent but his own and giving The Dead Anyways a unique voice. The band play mid-tempo, gruff punk rock with plenty of passion and energy that you can't help but enjoy. The next track, Hazy Hazy Nights, starts very quickly musically with guitars buzzing and drums thumping. The track is about watching the world go by and realising you're just a small part of it, giving you the feeling of being lost. The song is very relatable and has a great feeling of accessibility that makes me just want to sing along. The Legend Of Billy Jean begins with more of those distinctive vocals and a great drum beat before the song really kicks into life. The song starts out with the chorus, which I think is always a great way to get a listener into the track. The opening lines of "When You're Caged All You Want Is To Be Free, When The Expectations Leave, When You Have Nothing That's A Scary Place To Be, When The Expectations Leave" would, I think, get a crowd going early. Which is always a good thing.

The opening chords of Where The Light Shines Brightest make me think something big is about to happen, and that is certainly the case. Switching guitar tones after a few seconds the song goes along at a nice pace accompanied from some great vocals that are bursting with emotion. There is definitely a very serious and thoughtful feel to the track, which ends with a similar guitar tone to its beginning. Great book-ending. The fifth song is named East Bound Railways and it's a real chugger of a song. Chugging along nicely with a simple riff and a powerful drum beat, this is the first time on In The Margins that a dual vocal is used and it works really well on this slower style of song. East Bound Railways also leads excellently into the next song - Kids By The Bins. Kids By The Bins starts quickly and is a song about being younger and seemingly having the world at your feet. There is a big uplifting feel to the song, particularly in the chorus which includes some wonderful "ahhhh" harmonies that really give some atmosphere to the track. Up next is the song Poems A Dead Boy Wrote. For some reason the opening guitar parts really reminded me of The Bouncing Souls song Kid, I half expected the song to launch into some big "whoa-ohs!". Poems A Dead Boy Wrote is about being able to look at your life and find all the great bits "in the margins". This track also has a brilliant uplifting quality to it that I really love. The song really made me think about life -an amazing piece of song writing.

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter has an old school sound to it. Mixing a bit of Oi! with The Dead Anyways trademark sound, the main thing that stands out about the song is the chorus. It's got something about it that really makes me want to shout it back at the band (or in this case, my laptop). Track number nine is called Distant Lights and is a song about running away from your problems and the thought that the further away you are the more the problem goes away. Out of sight, out of mind. There is a real sense of seriousness to the song as it travels along at a good pace. The drums pounding away give the feeling of urgency and the delivery of the vocals, rarely going up or down an octave, pull the song along. The penultimate song is named Bookshop, Waterloo Main and is a song about moving on from a relationship. I like the use of the simple guitar chords and the vocals in the verse. The simplistic nature of the music really draws you into the lyrics of the song. The chorus is incredibly catchy and heart-wrenchingly relatable at the same time as Dave recounts going past a favourite book store hoping to bump into "the ex" or to work out an explanation of why things ended. Fantastic track! The final song on In The Margins is called God Is Our Interior Designer. I knew I was going to love this song from the first ten seconds. It's up-tempo from the outset and really got me moving in my desk chair. The tempo of the track and some massive sing-along, fist-in-the-air vocals make this an early contender for song of the year in my book. It's really, really, really good!

In The Margins by The Dead Anyways is an absolutely fantastic debut album from the South London band. I wouldn't call it a varied album but it really doesn't matter to me, every song has a great sound and there is no filler at all. Great stuff!

Stream and download the album here: https://13sx.bandcamp.com/album/in-the-margins

Like The Dead Anyways here: https://www.facebook.com/thedeadanyways/