LP Review; The Dangerous Summer: “The Dangerous Summer”

“Color” starts with a simple string melody that revolves in a circular motion to create the melodic foundation for the work. The vocals enter in after this motive resonates with audience. When they enter, they provide a small rise and fall through their vocal contour to give their audience a beautiful lyrical line to hold on to. Throughout the first verse, the band gives their listeners minimal instrumentation to allow the vocals to reign in isolation. Once the percussion section adds in, the band’s texture expands, which helps the band to establish the first groove of the work. When the groove is created, the string section began to embellish on their simple motive from the beginning of the work. As the band made it past the first verse and chorus, they seem to fall into a more relaxed vibe that remains static throughout the entirety of the selection. As the piece begins to near its end, the vocals begin to evolve in register and intensity, which is complimented by the heightened nature of the instrumental section. To conclude the work, the band includes a major instrumental interlude that expands on the motive that the was driven home throughout the selection.

“This Is Life” starts with a percussion feature that sets a quicker groove than the previous track. This groove has characteristic attacks on the heavier beats of the musical phrase in order to set the steady pulse of the work. The band rides with this motive in isolation for a few moments before the strings enter to provide chordal texture here and there. As the band expands their texture, the characteristic vocals enter in to provide a pleasing melodic idea to the audience. The vocals for this verse fall in the lower to middle register of the vocalist, which provides a sweet-sounding timbre for the audience. As the band progresses towards the first run of the chorus of the selection, the vocalist begins to heighten in vocal range as the instrumental section begins to elaborate on their musical motives to provide an interesting melodic idea to the audience. Throughout the work, the band includes an underlying tone that builds slowly over the course of several phrases. This tactic, when looking at the song as a whole, gives the audience a siren-type technique, which gives the audience something new, melodically speaking. This is strong for the band, for the band is providing small nuances that will help to keep the audience on the edge of their seat; thus, making them want to keep listening. As the band progresses throughout the song, they keep their melodic content static, and this remains true, for they conclude the work with the same isolated percussion motive from the beginning.

“Fire” starts with a small string motive that focuses on a single-note melodic line that remains rather fixed in terms of range. The percussion section enters in paired with the vocals only a few seconds after this beginning motive. When the full ensemble joins in, it is heard that the band falls into their characteristic sound that is driven by a simple groove that enforces the steady pulse of the work. The band provides a small transition excerpt which features the bassist before bringing the audience back to the recognizable instrumental materials from the beginning of the track. As the band shifts towards the chorus of the work, they increase their volume across all fronts to provide a thicker tone for the audience. This is strong for the band, for by doing so they are giving their listeners a stronger chorus that juxtaposes their work from the verses; however, they aren’t stepping away from their characteristic sound to do so. Looking towards the end of the work, the band includes an instrumental interlude that allows the instrumental section to embellish on the groove of the work. They do so by switching back and forth between the consistent feel with a half-time feel. This gives the audience a more modern vibe to resonate with as they progress through the rest of the work with this altering feeling.

“Ghosts” starts with an instrumental feature that focuses on the lower-timbre driven strings mixed with the percussion section, who provides a steady backbeat for the work. This interlude sets a somber mood for the piece through their relaxed style and chordal structure. The instrumentalists remain firm throughout the first verse as the vocals enter overtop. When the vocals enter, they resonate well with the audience, for their focused pitches are those that fall in the lower to middle range of the vocalist. This works well with the track because it gives the vocalist the opportunity to add vocal edge to certain phrases while still providing a pleasing melodic line to the piece. As the band moves through the chorus then to another verse, they provide an arc of sound with the simple rise and fall of dynamics, which meshes well with the slight alterations of vocal contour that the vocalist provides throughout the selection. Right before the band transitions back to the chorus, the band begins to fade out members of the instrumental section to lighten the texture. As they do so, they eventually leave the vocals in complete isolation before the chorus hits the audience hard in dynamics, which startles them in the best way. After this robust chorus, the band simmers down into another instrumental interlude, which brings the work to a close.

“Luna” starts with sounds that resemble the wind blowing over a vacant area. This mixture of color tones transition into the instrumental ensemble building on top of that full foundation. After the audience has been adjusted to the new timbre for the track, the vocals enter in smoothly in their characteristic fashion. As the first lyrics of the piece are introduced, the instrumentation backs down slightly to allow the vocals to shine, which allows the lyrics to resonate well with the listeners. The instrumental material that are present throughout the verses and the runs of the chorus pulls most of its rhythmic motion from a simply repetition of tones that help to keep the pulse of the work steady while providing gentle melodic material to keep the track interesting. As the band moves throughout the work, it is heard that this song remains on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of energy. This is smart for the band, for this track feels as if it will be more of an acting ballad for the album, which is a nice addition to present to their audience from their album as a whole. Moreover, the song isn’t overly exciting; however, the band gives their audience a simple tune to sing along to, which works well with its overly soothing mood.

 “Wild Again” starts with another instrumental interlude that is driven by a quicker tempo from the very first second of the work. This is smart for the band, for they startle the audience with this track, for their previous track was so solemn. Within this instrumental interlude, the ensemble creates a groove that will act as the foundation of the work. This groove is led by the soft and hard attacks presented by the percussion section that counteract against the string section. When the vocals enter, the percussion section becomes the dominant instrumental timbre that is heard with slight interjections made by the strings until the band builds to drive into the first run of the chorus. The chorus of the work includes a percussion motive that resonates differently than anything previously stated on the album; to further, this motive includes faster motives that focus more on heavy hits, but the motive as a whole builds on the ornate nature of semi-complex rhythms, which leads the audience back to the original groove quite nicely. The second verse and the second run of the chorus resembles the first set almost identically with slight differences here and there to keep the audience engaged. As the band moves towards the end of the work, the instrumental section builds off the new percussion motive that grows as the overall sound of the ensemble heightens to provide the listeners with an over-the-top ending for the selection.

“Valium” starts with vocals from the very first beat of the track. The vocals that are featured from the very beginning utilize the characteristic range for the vocalist seen throughout the album. The instrumental material that is present behind the slowly growing vocals mainly focus on providing simple harmonics to the overall work. They do so by using minimal projection with small juxtaposing blurbs that stick out to add a bit of color to the piece. As the band begins to push closer to the first run of the chorus, the dynamics of the ensemble begin to grow as a whole, and the percussion section grows more prominent as each second passes by, Then, right before the chorus commences the band provides a loud hit from the percussion section before crashing into an elaborate chorus that activates all of the instrumental material to enhance the texture by at least ten percent. Directly following the chorus, the band drops in instrumentation to mimic the first verse; however, the band builds quickly back to the heightened nature to fall back into the second run of the chorus. When the band transitions towards the end of the work, they provide moments where the vocals stand almost in isolation before crashing back into their over-the-top sound to round out the work.

“When I Get Home” starts with another instrumental interlude that resonates at a different timbre than the rest of the pieces on the album. They are able to achieve this through providing more of the lower end of their string section in small increments while providing light features from the upper strings. As the band toys with this new method of balance within the strings, the percussion section remains static when comparing it to the other tracks on the album, which works well for the band, for through this, the band is able to establish and elaborate on a groove from almost the very beginning. When the vocals enter, it is heard that they are edging closer to the top of the register that the audience is used to. This works well for the track, for it provides a nice blend with the new string methodology, which gives their audience something completely different than the previous selections. As the band moves through the first verse and chorus, it can be said that the melodic material isn’t overly exciting; however, it works well for the track because the blend of the instrumental material meshes well with the contour of the melodic vocal line that the vocalist drives home throughout the song. Towards the end of the work, the band includes a small instrumental feature that transitions seamlessly back to the original vibe of the work, which remains static until the selection concludes.

“Live Forever” starts with vocals from the first second the track commences. The vocals that lead the selection are presented with an edgier style compared to the other works, which provides a new melodic sensation to the audience. Underneath these vocals, the instrumental section combines their mixture of opposing rhythms to form an ornate groove that creates the foundation for the work, musically speaking. As the band moves throughout the first portion of the work, it is heard that the vocals act as the focal point; thus, the band works with minimalistic instrumentation during certain words or phrases to allow the vocals to reign in isolation. Before moving to the second verse of the work, the band includes a small instrumental feature, which is nice, for it gives the audience more melodic material to identify with in this piece, when speaking in terms of instrumental versus vocal material. As the band shifts towards the end of the selection, they increase their tempo slightly to fall back into the original vibe of the piece, which makes for a more resolved ending.

“Infinite” starts with faint strokes in the string section that establish the faint pulse of the work before the vocals enter not too long after. The vocals fall back into the lower to middle range of the vocalist, and this approach blends well with the chordal movement provided by the guitar section. Throughout the first verse of the work, it is heard that the band is keeping with their characteristic approach by keeping their vocals in the limelight by having minimal instrumentation. What is nice about this moment is that as the vocalist is able to just sing his melodic idea to the audience, and when he does so throughout this first verse it almost feels as if the vocalist is having a gentle conversation with the listeners instead of just singing lyrics to another song. Towards the middle of the track, the vocals switch dramatically to almost a yell before the entire instrumental ensemble joins in to give the audience a roaring moment. During this section, the band picks up the tempo to push the song forward through the driving percussion motive that is newly introduced through this section. As the band transitions towards the end of the track, they include an elaborate instrumental interlude that capitalizes on this new approach to the selection. The interlude starts at a quicker pace with emphasis on the off beats of the musical phrases; however, as the song begins to near its end, the band fades slightly, but they still provide a grand closure to the selection and the album as a whole. Furthermore, this is a strong closing work for the album because it amplifies every methodology that the band utilizes throughout the album, and it provides a high level of contrast, which makes for an exciting track to wrap everything up with.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score for a few stand-out reasons. The first reason is that the album is solid top to bottom; meaning, all of the songs on the album have a pleasing aura to them, and there is something that anyone could attach to. The other reason that I am giving this album such a score is because each and every selection on the album amplifies The Dangerous Summers’ characteristic sound. When one would listen to just one song on this album, they would know that this material belongs to them, which works in their benefit times a thousand. Therefore, if you are looking for a new album that’s just great. This is the one for you! Nice work!

*”The Dangerous Summer” was released on January 26, 2018 through Hopeless Records.

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