Review Summary: Fantastic sophomore record from this sadly overlooked dynamic L.A. foursome.
Dead Sara are an LA band who pack a Rage-like punch and a healthy dose of Fleetwood Mac and a bit of cheese, but that's just a couple of the bands that can be spotted in Sara's DNA, which largely encompasses a whole range of classic and hard rock styles.
This 2015 effort has the distinction of firstly: being under-reviewed, and secondly: being bloody good. Sounding not-too-similar to their acclaimed 2012 self-titled offering, Dead Sara strike a more mature tone throughout this record, one that wasn't so prominent on their grungy debut.
Opener 'Suicidal' is a carefree shout along about a life of perpetual ***-ups, backed by crunchy guitar work from the sumptuous Siouxsie Medley and a groovy bass line from the punchy Chris Null.
A voice at the end of the track frustratingly instructs the percussionist to 'PLAY THE ***ING DRUMBEAT!', while I was expecting some murderous percussion ala Painkiller, can-rattler Sean Friday obliges the instruction with a far-from-starry but steady one-two rhythm which leads into the next song 'LA City Slum': A murky, dirty song with frontwoman Emily Armstrong howling about not giving 'two ***s about love' among similar ramblings. Medley provides another simple but effective riff, backed by a trumpet to carry the song forward that ends in a jammy, hammy conclusion.
'Mona Lisa' diverges from the usual colours of the Dead Sara palette, a finger-clicking introduction assisted by Armstrong's crooning about a relationship gone south, graduating into a punchy, stomping funk-fest concluding with her defiant cries that she 'won't be what you like'. Great track.
The made for radio sound of 'Something Good' would feel like a heinous crime were it not for the sheer catchiness of the chorus, similarly the poppy sound of its successor 'Lovesick' would be a turn-off without the hooky vocals and sing-along lyrics. Both are winners.
'Radio one two' is the punkiest track on the record, with some more murky, retro riffing alongside some venomous, spitted lyrics about a wasted life and a perfectly deployed cunt-bomb.
'Mr. Mr.' is a brilliant display of measured bluesy angst. Armstrong's lyrics are hard to analyse as they often seem so personal, but this track is clear in its message: I'm a strong woman and I'm not taking any *** from you. One of the best on the album. With a nice solo and great powerful drumming from Mr Friday.
'Blue Was the Beautiful You' is the best track on the album, a truly stunning display of power from Armstrong, who puts in the best performance of her career on this: howling, screaming, belting -- she does it all. The spacious production compliments the atmospheric guitar-work.
The penultimate track 'Feel Right at Home' is one of the more interesting on the album, with Armstrong lapsing into what sounds like Spanish at times (I got a -12 grade in the language so I'm not sure) along with some upper register chords from Ms Medley that eventually progresses into mad jamming territory before fading into the final track.
'For You I Am' is one of the best closers I've ever heard, slowly building from post-rock textures and gentle singing into passionate screaming backed by a wall of springing guitars, pounding drums and sliding bass. Emily Armstrong closes the album with more cries about how she 'wants to be dead and gone'. Really powerful stuff.
If you like authentic good old fashioned rock and roll, A Pleasure to Meet You is a good way to spend forty-five minutes of your time.