Review Summary: Back from being dead
Listening to All That Is Left of the Blue Sky
feels good. While it’s not exactly The Dangerous Summer’s best, most complete body of work, the new EP feels like a brilliant celebration of endings and new beginnings. After having dealt with some serious issues - a criminal guitarist, frequent line-up changes, and, worst of all, being signed to Hopeless records - the band present a bundle of six new songs as they venture further into the world of alternative music, fully independent and free from creative restraints.
In a sense, these new tracks are brilliantly packaged and sequenced. The anthemic opener ‘F*ck Them All’, sounding a whole lot like what you would expect a Dangerous Summer song to sound like, provides the ultimate final middle finger to record labels and guides the band into new, uncharted territory. This space is instantly explored by the subsequent two tracks, as frontman AJ Perdomo, guitarist Matt Kennedy and drummer Aaron Gillespie (yes, that
Aaron Gillespie) try their hand at some new sounds. While the piano ballad (‘Come Down’) is more successful than the acoustic-campfire-wait-is-this-Jumper-by-Third-Eye-Blind?-song, neither are particularly interesting and primarily showcase how AJ’s weathered voice works perfectly against any sonic canvas. Besides this, ‘Come Down’ displays more of the uncompromisingly clear, honest lyricism the vocalist has perfected in the past few years: ’I lost you in the dawn of my haze / I was dying on my own”
Thankfully, the EP’s back half finds the band continuing where they left off on 2019’s magnificent Mother Nature
. ‘LA in a Cop Car’ is the kind of song that could only sound as good as it does when performed by The Dangerous Summer. While the upbeat track is undoubtedly catchy, the true magic can be found in AJ’s voice bouncing against the bright riff as the song finishes on a minute-long, uniquely understated climax. ‘Lie to Me’ fully nails a slightly darker feeling, incorporating keys and violins to craft the tense, driving nature of the song before All That Is Left of the Blue Sky
’s most emotionally intense moment presents itself in the song’s finale, as AJ’s strained yells slice right through the atmosphere. Closing out this delightful three-song run as well as the entire EP, ‘Come Along’ boasts an irresistibly vivid chorus. On top of this, Aaron Gillespie’s vocal feature in the bridge adds a nice, airy touch before the track disintegrates, marking the end of The Dangerous Summer’s first independent 19 minutes.
As rewardingly paced as it may be, the fact that All That Is Left of the Blue Sky
includes two of the band’s weakest songs to date hurts the overall experience a fair bit. However, besides the back half showcasing The Dangerous Summer on top of their game, the EP ultimately feels like a celebration of freedom. As the final lyrics exude, newfound independence comes with its inherent uncertainties, but, admirably, the band manage to juxtapose such insecurities with the realisation that ”I’ve come a long, come a long, come a long way”
. It feels good.