Review Summary: Spectacular alternative rock from Down Under.
Recent Sumerian signee Dead Letter Circus has really turned heads with the album "This Is the Warning". A spectacular, melodic blend of progressive and alternative rock, blended with the electronic influences of Massive Attack and Nine Inch Nails, Dead Letter Circus has really started to break out in the United States, buoyed by their recent tour with Evan Brewer.
Within the first 30 seconds of "Here We Divide", I had a strong feeling that this album was going to be full of audio layers and textures. I was proven right; there is a strong undercurrent of melody underneath the alternative rock surface. In fact, I'd say it reminds me a bit of Morning View-era Incubus, and Deftones, as well. Being compared with either of those bands is a positive trait, to be sure.
Single "Cage" has a wicked mix of dance and metal that breathes a fresh gust of air into the Australian music scene, and is one of the stronger songs on the album, while "Big" manages to channel the best parts of U2 and Angels and Airwaves, with guitar delay, electronic, and orchestral elements, and some rather impressive lyricisms, midway through the song:
"You and I are the same thing
Simple yet we complicate the design
It's working but I just feel there's a faster way to arrive."
"Reaction" manages to bridge the gap between alternative and progressive rock with a simple "verse chorus verse" structure, while Kim Benzie delivers an amazing vocal performance (as is typical throughout the album). The rest of the instruments are just as solid, with some rather good instrumental parts throughout the album, as well as a loud, thumping bass part on "The Drum" which clocks in at just over 6 minutes, and there is some seriously skilled guitar work midway through this song. It's a must-listen.
There are no weak tracks here, and there's a number of impressive, "what did they just do?" highlights, especially on "Here We Divide" and "Cage".
Austrailian rock fans are already eating this band up, and they're really turning heads in the States.
"This Is The Warning" has really surprised me, because beyond Karnivool, there's not very many Aussie rock bands doing big things. But make no mistake. "This Is the Warning" is epic, on a grand scale. Emotional, melodious, frenetic...Dead Letter Circus may have serious trouble outdoing this album. It's worthy of the hype.
Songs to check out: Here We Divide, Cage, Big, The Drum, One Step.