Dead To Me
I Wanna Die In Los Angeles
(Fat Wreck Chords)
The band Dead To Me is actually dead to no one. In fact, this release marks the recording return of their founding vocalist/guitarist Jack Dalyrmple (also of toyGuitar, etc). Although Los Angeles may be burning, the bridges are not between Dalyrmple and fellow founder Tyson “Chicken” Annicharico (bass/vox), and this new EP with Fat Wreck Chords titled I Wanna Die In Los Angeles could be a hint of things to come. So it’s all right. Everybody be cool, this is a reuniting.
Annicharico has put his cards on the table that this album is about meeting his demons of dependency face to face. As a cleaned up sober man, he’d rather not relapse and “die in Los Angeles,” so the title is a reminder to keep on his toes in following the straight and narrow. Because who knows if John Travolta will swoop into his apartment with an adrenaline shot during an OD, he might not be as lucky as Marsellus Wallace’s wife, Mia. (I’m throwing a wealth of LA based Pulp Fiction references at you. Go watch it, millennials.) As is the case in many Fat releases du jour, punks are dicing their vices within reason. Dark content, and hooky arrangements are the backbone of 2016. Maybe now is the right time to be sober—with Trump taking over.
Ian Anderson holds down the pop-punk beat masterfully with snares rolling in hard and fast. Jumping between the high hat and snare, a clean formula holds the band to their urgent tone. Ken Yamazaki brings in anthematic backing vox as Dalyrmple soulfully belts out the chorus on “Tune It Out.” The two of them back Annicharico with surfy “ooos” as he explains, “It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I tune it out.” The buildup of their voices and harmonies guise our ears from picking out too much of the pain they’re singing about.
As the title might suggest, “Comforting the Disturbed and Disturbing the Comfortable” gets spooky and eerily glum, but in the playful depiction you’d expect in a 50s style Disney film. It’s too shiny and appealing to really cause a scare, but makes for a stimulating listen. Annicharico’s brash dystopian voice is met with optimism by the swooning rhythms of Dalyrmple’s delivery. At a mere three tracks, they quickly prove that they gel together well after years apart. They could stand to record a couple more.