The Dangerous Summer - War Paint
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: July 19, 2011
With their latest release, War Paint, The Dangerous Summer have crafted an album that has an amount of heart and sincerity that is not only devoid from the majority of music currently being made, but severely lacking in most of the general human population. Frontman AJ Perdomo continues to wear his heart on his sleeve in a fashion that few artists can pull off without sounding trite. Quite opposite, Perdomo uses this vulnerable and honest approach to further solidify his place as one of the strongest writers and vocalists of the current scene. The influences and comparisons that can be drawn from this album are almost too many to count, and almost too accurate to believe. With a perfect storm of lyrics and vocals complemented by a sonic assault of energetic, and at times, frantic, instrumental work, War Paint is bursting at the seams with power and emotion.
The album begins with a thundering cascade of drums and guitars, eventually toning down just a bit to make room for the vocals to find their way into the mix. With this introduction, the band wastes no time in letting the listener know they're back, or even that they never went anywhere, but simply got better. Using a delicate balance of melody and aggression, the song weaves back and forth between the driving instrumental work and Perdomo's poetry. "I came to say sorry/I shouldn't have left/My bitterness got to me before you did/And now I'm laying in gardens/Where we start over again/I know that you got me/And this is it," Perdomo proclaims, using picture-perfect imagery to get his point across, all before the song concludes in a tidal wave of sound, much as it began.
Throughout the remainder of the record, the high powered ride continues. "No One's Gonna Need You More" once again implements the drum and guitar blitzkrieg and then evolves into a melodic and anthem-like track with a chorus that feels as if it was destined to be sung as loud as possible by fans with each other at a show, ready to pour their hear out while the band does the same. "Siren" shows off the bands ability to create a dynamic track that breaks from a strictly traditional structured approach with an extended bridge that is arguably one of the finest moments of music the group has ever composed. "This is in my head/I don't need/a writer to tell me how I breathe," AJ Perdomo belts out in the final lines of the record on "Waves," while his brash and aggressive vocal style is juxtaposed against the female voice that sings along with him. There are no dull moments on this record. There is no filler. Every note and word is there for a reason, and this attention to detail creates a record that flows perfectly and does not let go of your attention once it has been grasped.
War paint was used by the warriors of many cultures and applied in various patterns upon the face before going into battle. The paint was a used as a display of identity, honor, camaraderie, and courage. That's what this album is all about; coming to terms with the battles we fight every day in the war torn landscape of what modern living has become. The struggles of love, responsibility, and personal identity are presented in a powerful and precise orchestration of word and sound. If Reach For The Sun is an album of love lost and self doubt, War Paint is an album of growth and struggle, but also, of acceptance and hope.
Perdomo knows the battlefield is a hellacious environment to navigate, but like a young soldier thrown into a firefight or packed into a bunker just waiting for the bombardment to pass, he knows this is his war to fight. He has begun to absorb that responsibility and come to terms with it. There will be doubt, and there will be fear, but he's going to fight until he can fight no more.
As the great Charles Bukowski once stated, "What matters most is how well you walk through the fire."
The Dangerous Summer put on their war paint. They walked through that fire.
The album you hear is the band that came out on the other side.
Great review. Nothing against Blake, but I think this more accurately captures what this album is all about, and what it will mean to a lot of people. I cannot support this band enough. Their music literally is a driving force in my life in trying to better myself and make the most of each day. I fucking love The Dangerous Summer.