Sarajevo Rose - Dawn Awaits
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Expectation is a funny thing when listening to a record for the very first time. If you've been eagerly awaiting your favorite band's new album, you'll have all sorts of preconceived notions of what to expect - how each track will sound and how they will gel together.
Before listening to Dawn Awaits, the debut EP from Aussie band Sarajevo Rose, I had no expectations. I had no preconceived notions other than their musical influences include British rockers You Me at Six,fellow Queenslander's Dead Letter Circus and another Aussie rock act Birds of Tokyo.
From the very outset I was impressed by Dawn Awaits. By the fourth or fifth listen, I was blown away.
Australia has produced some very good rock music. The likes of Gyroscope, Powderfinger, Grinspoon and more recently Birds of Tokyo have enjoyed plenty of success home and abroad throughout the last decade. After listening to Dawn Awaits, I'm convinced this Brisbane trio has a very high ceiling indeed - akin to the aforementioned acts.
The EP kicks off with a customary rock instrumental opener, but that is quickly cast into the background with the high tempo second track 'Silence'. The You Me at Six inspired track varies its pace very well while Luke Allison and Lee Condon produce slashing guitar riffs throughout the song. Lead vocalist Allison absolutely kills it over this five-track journey and he is well supported by Condon and percussionist Duncan Barker. 'Silence' really comes into its own as the bridge almost slows to a halt, before exploding into a high octane finale which defiantly states: "I'll sleep tonight/as you lay awake/and think of what you've done/I'll sleep tonight, will you?"
The momentum doesn't let up at the midway point of the EP with 'The Hardest Words', which for mine is the clear highlight of the record. Allison's vocal range shines as emotion literally oozes out of the soaring lyrics - "Is this the only way that we know/and is it cause to let go?/we lay here in silence/running away from all the things we knew/the hardest words are let me go".
The emotion of the lyrics reminds me of Tallahassee punk band Mayday Parade, except more skilfully executed.
'On the Outside' adds another dimension to the EP, with crunching riffs and a chorus which hooks you in after an auspicious opening. This is the track where the band gravitates towards Queensland pals Dead Letter Circus, with some elements of hard rock, but overall the song is polished just like its predecessors.
The finale 'Lying into the Light' comes around far too quickly but does not disappoint as once again Sarajevo Rose offers something different from what went before. It smacks of Anberlin in my eyes with Allison changing gear and doing his best (intentional or not) to emulate the emotive vocals of Stephen Christian. Overall it works very nicely as the album closer to this varied record, with a soaring melody to bring the listener back down from a rock induced high.
If Luke Allison, Lee Condon and Duncan Barker can continue to craft their tracks with the same care and attention to detail they displayed in Dawn Awaits, while performing the finished products with emotion and energy, this band's potential is boundless. With a second record in production, we won't have to wait long to find out.