Review Summary: Not simply another exercise in anti-patriotism.
The hatred is back, guys. It’s obvious that over a decade into their career, the California-based hardcore band Dangers aren’t the same hateful kids that made the anthemic, unrelenting riff-fest with a ”*** everything American” attitude connect with the anti-patriotists on the 2006 album Anger
, or even the more refined and thoughtful Messy, Isn’t It?
following four years after it. Don’t get me wrong though, they are still bitter as hell. I mean, it wouldn’t be Dangers if they weren’t. The thing is though, the frontman Alfred Brown IV is in his thirties now so something is bound to change in the band’s songwriting, and their expression couldn’t be more on-point than it is on The Bend in the Break
For those who were disappointed with the Five O’Clock Shadows at the Edge of the Western World
EP released two years ago (and as far as I know, there were many of them), I have both good and bad news. The bad news is, the more melodic approach presented on that EP stays quite the same but on the other hand, as the songs on Five O’Clock
felt a bit rushed and almost half-assed, this isn’t the case on The Bend in the Break
. The band has always had their lyrical focus on dealing with the stereotypically shallow Californian culture and in this sense nothing has changed but their songwriting has still taken quite a leap forward. Lyrics like ”I used to want a kid. I did. And sometimes I still do. It’s true. It’s that selfish part of me that wants to share this road with eyes a lot like mine
” aren’t something that would really feel at home on their past records. Dangers aren’t about the straightforward hate that made them a household name in the scene anymore. This is about regretting the past, this is a warning for the future generations.
As much as Dangers has matured when it comes to their lyrical content, the musical effort has got more interesting as well. This isn’t entirely anything surprising as both Messy, Isn’t It?
and especially Five O’Clock
showed an increasing amount of musical experimentation and this trend nothing but continues on The Bend in the Break
. The music is still definitely heavy and driving for the most part but the listener doesn’t need to go any further than the album opener, ”Human Noose”, and its dark, even bluesy melodies to hear the development in Dangers’ sound and, in fact, it’s also quite possibly the best representation of the album’s overall sound. The band reaches a whole new level of melodiousness on the 5-minute (!) ”Loose Cigarettes” which might also be Alfred’s best vocal performance of his whole career. Speaking of his vocals, The Bend in the Break
also provides a change in his tone in general as on this album his unrelenting shouts take a more strained, even suffering approach.
The production on the album is clean enough to well compliment the melodies but unfortunately doesn’t necessarily do justice to the vicious vocals which should be at the forefront of the music because after all, it’s really the always pissed-off and never apologetic lyrics that give the album its whole meaning. This time around though, it doesn’t seem like Alfred is mad at the America anymore, but more at himself. So here’s the lesson, kids: Don’t make the same mistakes he did.
”We went dancing on graves, for days, ’til we had danced ourselves into that soil.