Monday, 9 January 2017

Album Review: Holy Shit by Davey Dynamite


On the 20th of December I posted my top ten albums on 2016 list. If I had posted it on the 21st of December it might have been a little different. On the 20th of December a man from Chicago named Davey Dynamite released his debut album titled Holy Shit, on Dying Scene Records. I'm sure you've worked out that I thought it was great - here's why.


The album starts off with title track - Holy Shit. What a way to start an album. The title itself is fairly shocking but when the music hits you, you know this album is going to pretty special. Starting out with some buzzing guitars, things get quiet with some soft electric guitars and vocals. This goes on for a little while, occasionally bursting into live with explosive musical outbursts. This all leads to an eruption of punk rock excellence at the end of the track. Following this instant classic is a track named Rock and Roll. This is a song that goes 100mph from the outset. It's a pulse raising, fist pumping, onslaught of punk rock music. It's about making the most out of everything because, at the end of the day, we're not here for a long time. This is punk music at its finest for me. It's inspiring and it makes me excited. I can't help but want to sing, dance and start a mosh pit in my living room as I listen to this banger. The final shouts of "Let's Make This Fucking Matter" just complete what I think is a perfect song. Transitions continues the fast pace musically but takes a more reserved approach with its overall sound. From the opening lyrics of "I Got Acne, My Hair Is Thinning At The Same Time, And I'm Slowly Learning That I Don't Mind", I was hooked on this song about growing up. Sometimes it only takes a couple of lines to make you realise that you really love a song - this was definitely the case on Transitions.

The fourth song, 380 Times, is a rebel rousing number. Here Davey Dynamite questions why people higher up the hierarchal chain earn so much more than the people at the bottom. The rawness of this working class anthem really reminds me of old school Against Me! and is something that I adore. There is so much energy and passion in the song that you can tell Davey really means and cares about every word that he sings. Because he cares so much it makes me care more and really makes you think about the meaning of the song. I guess that's the point of the song - to make you think, so good job Davey Dynamite. The ending of the track is another that fills the listener with inspiration. The lines "We Are Worth More Than Their Dollars" ring out and really give you a massive lift. Hope Is Found is a song that builds beautifully. It's a love song. All the best punk rock albums have a love song on them. It's basically the rule. Hope Is Found is a song about finding love when you are at your worst and not expecting it. Something I can relate to hugely and I imagine many people reading this will feel the same. Going back to the Against Me! comparison the sixth song on Holy Shit, Man Enough, makes me think Teenage Anarchist part two. That's not to say it's a rip off of the song, because it's most definitely not, but the theme of not fitting in and wanting to smash through the barriers that are put in front of you is similar. On Man Enough the not fitting in element is due to being queer and feeling ostracised in the punk scene. There is so much emotion pouring out of the song whether it be anger or sadness. The delivery of the lyrics "Every Time A Kid Uses A Synonym Of Gay A Barrel Of A Gun Gets Closer To A Brain" is absolutely heartbreaking. This is some really incredible and important songwriting. Next we are treated to a dose of pop punk with the song Flower. The fast paced vocals are quite reminiscent of The Ergs! if Face To Face's Trevor Keith sang for them. I enjoyed the thick and heavy bassline that occurs throughout the track - it does a great job of carrying the melody of the song.

Mowing At Grandma's mixes things up somewhat with more of a stripped back soulful sound. It's a fun little song about returning home and keeping up with traditions despite things changing. The stripped back sound works well on the song and is a good change from the powerful full band sound that we've heard on the majority of Holy Shit. Following on from Mowing At Grandma's, we have the song 4th Of July. This is another really sad and heartbreaking song about feeling as if you're losing your freedom despite being told that that's what soldiers going to war is for. As sad and heartbreaking as this song is it's also quite beautifully written, sung and played. Davey Dynamite has written such a moving piece of music that again really makes you think. This guy is just an incredible songwriter. Topics covered in the song include soldiers with PTSD, working a minimum wage job and people being jailed unfairly. The penultimate song on Holy Shit is named Fuckheads. (Probably the most amount of swearing I've done in one line on this blog). Returning to the full band sound, this gets us sprinting down what has been a phenomenal album. Fuckheads is about fighting for change to help improve the world, even for the people who you might think are bad. More excellent fist pumping campfire punk rock sing-alongs here and I love it. I also love the addition of a backing vocal courtesy of Rigby Nix, providing some excellent harmonies. The additional vocals add a community feel to the song. This works well with the political nature of the track. The album is concluded in the way all albums should be concluded. It's an extended rollercoaster of a track with all the highs and lows you could possibly need. It is named Gods. There's a great mix of styles and tempo throughout Gods whether it's slow and thoughtful, loud and shouty or a fast melodic style - it is always entertaining and works fantastically well. The line "We Are The Gods Of The New World" is the one that really stands out for me. The song is about realising it is the punk rock way of thinking that is eventually going to change the thinking of people - and this generation of punks will be leading the charge. Another exquisite track.

Holy Shit is an album that has come out of nowhere to be one of the best releases of 2016. Davey Dynamite it a supremely gifted songwriter managing to move me in some way on every song. It surely won't be long until everyone is talking about Davey Dynamite. In the future I can see him being one of the most important and influential person in punk rock!

Stream and download Holy Shit here: https://dyingscenerecords.bandcamp.com/album/holy-shit

Like Davey Dynamite here: https://www.facebook.com/daveytnt/