After what seems like an eternity, the United Kingdom finally get to experience the sophomore album from Brisbane’s DZ Deathrays (released on the 18th August 2014, on Infectious Music). Whether a decision was made to release ‘Black Rat’ in country-specific alphabetical order we’ll never know. However, after teasers in the form of ‘Gina Works at Hearts’ and ‘Reflective Skull’ we have now been rewarded with the remaining nine tracks.
For fans of the duo the structure pretty much remains the same. There are great pop hooks, memorable choruses and that deafening guitar and drum combination that worked so well on the previous LP ‘Bloodstreams’. It’s a relentless and frenetic creation from start to finish with little time to ponder on anything other than these thrashing but melodic tunes.
Simon Ridley and Shane Parsons seem to have created a small niche of music all to them-selves. This isn’t pure rock but neither is it a twee forgettable indie album. Their ability to combine pop melodies with harsh instrumentation should be commended. Yes, we may have heard it already on ‘Bloodstreams’ but if the formula worked for their critically acclaimed debut then why change it? There is certainly still an originality here that maybe even offers a little more than its predecessor. The melody is more prominent and the songwriting has defiantly matured. Whether this formula is wily enough to work for a third LP remains to be seen.
‘Ocean Explorer’ certainly stands out as the most complete track. Parsons wonderful, unapologetic guitars and screeching vocals sit perfectly on top of Ridley’s frantic drumming, leaving you in utter bewilderment as to how two individuals can create such a deafening sound. ‘Northern Lights’ flips this musical philosophy 180 degrees though, as you’re introduced to a slow tempo’d creation that almost seems out of character to the remainder of the album. Cleverly it sits at the half way point of the LP and at least gives the listener an opportunity to take a well-deserved breather.
If I have one criticism it’s that there are too many average tracks on the LP (‘Fixations’ and ‘Keep Myself on Edge’ in particular). Sure they’re all fun and it’s impossible not to enjoy their energy, but they also turn what could be a ‘great’ album into just a ‘good’ one.
‘Black Rat’ is out on the 18th August 2014, via Infectious Music.
The track-listing for ‘Black Rat’ is as follows…
2.Gina Works at Hearts
3.Less Out of Sync
5.Keep Myself On Edge
See DZ Deathrays at one of the following venues…
August 12 – The Horn, St Albans
August 13 – Boiler Room, Guildford
August 14 – Cookie Jar, Leicester
August 15 – The Joiners, Southampton
August 16 – Jailhouse, Hereford
August 18 – Shacklewell Arms, London
August 19 – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
August 21 – New Slang, Kingston
August 22 – Roadmenders, Northampton
August 23 – Reading Festival
August 24 – Leeds Festival