Review Summary: Homegrown Aussie Indie-Emo-Rock
I’ve never been quite fond of indie rock. Not much from the genre has been able to catch and hold my attention for quite long enough to be interesting, so stumbling across Don’t Let Go
didn’t strike much of a chord with me. Well, at first that is. Hailing from Australia, Dear Seattle mix in elements of indie rock, emo, and alternative, creating a concoction of a record insinuating a sense of upbeat tempos shadowed by expected melancholic lyrics (a staple of the emo-esque styles).
Never straying too far from comfort, Don’t Let Go
is full of powerful guitar progressions enhanced by underlying chord arpeggios of supporting clean harmonies, punchy bass-lines following suite of the six strings’ patterns, and upbeat , punk-like drum grooves. Songs like “Bigger Than My Brain” and “Homegrown” boast the classic sound of emo-tinged indie rock, combining the softer façade of the verses with the juxtaposing aggressive attack of the choruses and bridges. Alternatively, “Daytime TV” and “Broke and Hungry” ditch the softer verses for crushing tonality in the atmosphere of the entire duration of the songs, the latter containing even some harsher vocals contrary to much of the record. Differing from the general progression of the album, songs like “You” and “I Keep Dreaming” showcase a much more reserved, yet nonetheless dramatic and powerful, ambiance, utilizing the aspect of progressive building into epic breaks, displaying Dear Seattle’s true talent in songwriting with the former song being the highlight of the song.
However, such songs couldn’t hold their true identity without fitting vocals. Throughout the album, the frontman bellows harmonies about how to be a good lover, watching people take him for granted, and fake people. With quite the strong Aussie-tinge, the vocals evoke a uniqueness amongst the generally formulaic structures. Throughout tracks like “Let Me Bleed” and “You,” a mix of shouted vocals with a hint of melody and clean, accented harmonies makes the music come full circle as all the pieces fall into place.
Sadly, as aforementioned, the songwriting on here happens to be quite vanilla, never venturing too far from the boundaries of the style’s general pattern. With only few moments of true originality (i.e. “You” and “I Keep Dreaming”), Don’t Let Go
leaves room for improvement with sparks of potential within the band despite being redundant. Although the songs themselves are not bad, in fact they are all quite spectacular individually, the flow of the record begins to mesh together as almost everything follows the same structure.
Regardless, Don’t Let Go
was definitely a surprise for me, as I found myself leaving this on repeat simply enjoying songs of a genre I’m not quite invested in. Although the flaws are apparent and striking, the highlights of the album are diamonds in the rough, pulling the album forward. This Australian indie rock may not be innovative or groundbreaking, yet it is a fun spin for fans of the genre.