Dead Letter Circus
The Catalyst Fire
(The End Records)
If you’re a fan of Tool and Tool-like acts like Karnivool, mid-era Chevelle and now Blindead, then you’ll definitely find something here to like in Dead Letter Circus. Though not the muscular prog that one might expect from Tool, the band’s frontman has a glassy approach that sure might remind listeners of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan at his most delicate. I think it’s the powerful melodies that accentuate showstoppers like “Alone Awake” and “Say Your Prayers” that really seem to meld with me the most, making Dead Letter Circus a hell of an act to follow. The band has a strong chemistry in the fact that the guitarist’s shoegaze melodies just wouldn’t work as well without the frontman’s approach. The band never gets overly heavy, but they don’t need to. They could live on those melodies for years if they wanted to – it’s really that good. If this is going on the radio sometime soon, you can bet I’ll be the first to stand up for it and say, “hey, this isn’t crap!” and I ultimately mean that. Each and every track on the disc carries a sort of melancholy, yet ultimately beautiful mood, quite like early Cure but with brighter melodies. The band excels in powerful choruses, which will be their strongest selling point and their music is apt to get stuck in one’s head for long periods of time.
Though there isn’t a whole of deviation on the album, it manages to offer a heaping plate of soul-bearing honesty. When I was younger, it was these kinds of rock bands that I really cared about and put my energy into further discovery of their work. Stabbing Westward was a good example of this, and oddly enough, I can even hear some Stabbing influence on this album despite the fact that there aren’t quite as many electronic samples on the disc as you’d find in their work. If you’re also a fan of post Stabbing act, The Dreaming, you’ll also find yourself enjoying the rainbow textures that these gentlemen make. I could cite influences all day long, but it would be useless as once you’ve heard the music, you’ll be certainly spellbound by its subtle beauty. Of course, I feel that I might be skeptical in some instances, mainly regarding this material sounding as good here as it does live. But time will tell, as new gods have emerged to take the throne out from other tired blowhards who have sat on it for way too long. Let’s welcome their ascent into Valhalla. (Eric May)
See also: Tour Diary – Dead Letter Circus deal with van trouble,
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