Dear and the Headlights
Small Steps Heavy Hooves


5.0
classic

Review

by yournameherexx USER (2 Reviews)
April 29th, 2007 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dear and the Headlights bring a musical breath of fresh air in one of the most underrated albums of 2007.

It seems that in the world of music today, it's exceedingly rare to find something new and fresh sounding. Many bands fall into the unfortunate yet profitable trap of sounding similar and derivative, following the same formulaic structures and instrumentation as the rest of their musical peers.

I was randomly browsing Purevolume one day looking for new music, not just new bands, but original sounding bands. On a fluke, I searched through the bands on the label Equal Vision and found one name that happened to amuse me: Dear and the Headlights. At the time, I was skeptical, but I quickly downloaded and fell in love with their free demo E.P. available. This album, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves, features studio versions of many of these songs along with other instant classics.

From the opening chords of Oh No! , I quickly realized that this band was on to something good. This track features expertly crafted, soothing guitar tones that complement lead singer Ian Metzger’s tenor to a T. A discerning ear can pick out the slapback delay on the lead vocals that bring to mind the sound of The Killers.

The second track, Sweet Talk , picks up the momentum quite a bit. This song is one of the more accessible tracks on the record. One of the standout points of this song is the addicting staccato vocals in the verses followed by a subtle, quiet hook. Upon examination of the lyrics, one will find intellectually stimulating, poignant tongue-in-cheek musings about an ex-lover’s new relationship. Even though some critics would dismiss this as juvenile, the subject is attacked with incredible maturity, sophistication, and poetic flow. This track takes full advantage of Metzger’s full vocal potential, highlighting the contrast between the quiet murmurings of the chorus and the all-out power of the final minute. His vocals are raw, emotive, and honest without ever being overprocessed, sugary, or dull.

Hallelujah goes back to the acoustic folk/rock style found in the first track, but with a very different approach. This song features one of the most addictive hooks on the record and a flow that is surprisingly danceable.

For [b] Happy In Love /[b], the guys take the volume down a little bit with hushed vocals and a brilliant organ and piano sound. The song never becomes dull or boring by any means. It keeps building, adding percussion, drums, and gorgeous harmonies until the huge climax.

Throughout the CD, the band never falls into the stereotype of always sounding the same. There is not a single track on this CD worth skipping, and I mean this with all honesty.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve only reviewed it track by track for the first half or so, but I can guarantee you that the rest of the album is not a disappointment, if not better than the first half. Other standout tracks include I’m Bored, You’re Amorous, It’s Getting Easy, Skinned Knees & Gapped Teeth, and my personal favorite Run In The Front.




It’s rare that a band can find the chemistry within itself to find the ideal sound within themselves. However, Dear and the Headlight’s music is the perfect mix between catchiness and pure emotional power. This CD enables you to have fun without being too sugary and enables you to feel something without being too weighty. It has far exceeded my expectations on every level. I would recommend seeing these guys live, as their sound is nearly as brilliant in concert as it is in a studio setting. I was surprised that Dear and the Headlights don’t have more attention than they already do, since Small Steps, Heavy Hooves is easily one of the most underrated albums of 2007.


user ratings (99)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
April 29th 2007


4827 Comments


I read about this guys in one of the newer AP's, but they didn't really appeal to me. Terrible band name as well.
To be honest your review didn't really make me want to check them out, but it was definitely well written, so nice job. Keep it up.

pulseczar
April 29th 2007


2385 Comments


OK review, you definitely don't justify a 5 rating, or how this band is so refreshing or whatever.

yournameherexx
April 30th 2007


9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, I thought that since there's not a single track on the CD that I would skip, it would be superfluous to continually build up the album. I mentioned his strong vocal performance and the songwriting several times.
But thanks for the feedback anyways.

HotSalvation
April 30th 2007


258 Comments


I need something refreshing- pulseczar you don't really think Tab is resfreshing do you?


anyways I'll give a listen and get back

x28x06x42x12
December 13th 2007


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this cd. There are a couple of tracks that I'm not particularily into, but I think it's beautiful.

Society Sellout
October 5th 2008


292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is amazing. There is a certain factor that I really can't describe that makes this music so incredible.

fireaboveicebelow
October 5th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

half the album is great, the other half is pretty awful

Kiran
Emeritus
October 5th 2008


6001 Comments


These guys have a new album and it's ok.

Society Sellout
October 5th 2008


292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ya in all honesty there new album was a big disappointment to me. Not horrible but nothing near what this is. I might review it in a few days.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 5th 2008


6001 Comments


I haven't heard this so I wasn't dissapointed, it was just underwhelming considering my friend built it up to seem as if I'd fall in love with it. It's fun but shallow.

Bleak123
October 14th 2008


1902 Comments


This is better than their new album, some of the songs on here are really amazing.

TREO5
June 25th 2009


1071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a fantastic cd. I agree, their new album really was a huge dissapointment for me.

I haven't had a day alone, haven't had a day alone since I met you...

TREO5
July 8th 2009


1071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sooo good just got my record player and am listening to this on Vinyl right now...hooooly shit.

MrCalum
December 11th 2009


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Opening tracks were pretty awesome, middle of the album didn't really strike me much but i can see this growing

MrCalum
December 14th 2009


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

god Oh No! is so catchy

mccracker
January 3rd 2010


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

There are some dull songs on here but even those tracks are decent enough to listen to multiple times. Gotta say my favorite is It's Getting Easy.

stames999
April 6th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very good album, love the vocals and some of the guitar work on it

LoraBellHall
May 5th 2010


1 Comments


I'm a huge DATH fan that's been dying to get a hold of the old demo recordings you mentioned for years -- the files from Purevolume (I found them the same way you did!) managed to evaporate somehow from my old desktop and the physical copy I loaned to a friend got lost and I haven't seen it since. If by any chance you have those elusive .mp3s or can think of any way to get a hold of them...PLEASE, contact me! lorabellhall@live.com

Gatsbys
September 9th 2010


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love DATH. Their vocals are so amazing, and they really know how to write amazingly catchy songs. I'm not as big of a fan of their new album, though. In fact, I wrecked my car to it. So balls to that.

dixoncocks
December 5th 2010


2596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Easily one of my favorite albums of all time.
lyrics and vocals are amazing



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