Friday, November 25, 2022

DEADLETTER Shout and Shine in Brilliant Debut EP ‘Heat!’

DEADLETTER release new five-track EP ‘Heat!’, biting their thumb at the shallow piety of materialist worshippers and pretenders of the modern world.

The unveiling of this new project seems perfectly timed. After a successful summer of live shows and a productive run of single drops, the band is emphatic in ensuring the winter months be no less busy.

This new effort comes during a tour of Europe, supporting alt-rock legends Placebo. Expressing their contempt for the dispiriting banal rituals of metropolitan life in an international setting surely makes them true ambassadors for the post-punk genre - the new work is the perfect subject matter for this mission.

With their two latest singles ‘Binge’ and ‘Weights’ appearing on the EP, the direction for their ideas - both musical and lyrical - was suitably expressed through these tracks in the lead-up to its release. The former was a hedonist song-and-dance piece, meditating on blissful submission to reckless lifestyle choices. The latter, conversely, was more thoughtful, more sobering, with its dirgy chorus of “Life imitates art they say/In which case art must be utter dismay”. Its lower tempo and slow build-ups also allowed for greater musical dynamics and diversity of instrumentation. These singles, then, demonstrated the kind of variety the band is capable of, and the new release follows this trend concretely.

The musicality is consistently rich and vibrant, encompassing an eclectic range of arrangements and mixing choices. Employing synthesisers and even drum machines (as seen on the closing track ‘Zeitgeist’) to add a contemporary flavour to their live sound allows for an expansive approach to the band's songwriting potential and sound design. There are, of course, nay-sayers who accuse groups like DEADLETTER of just being shouty, cymbal-bashing “wokerati” (to indirectly quote some of our glorious leaders) but their musical sophistication alone is enough to dispel any of that, albeit remote, idiocy.

This exciting variety is streamlined with an aesthetic consistency maintained primarily by Zac Lawrence’s characterful, sing-speak vocals. These - as seen on previously discussed latest single and the EP’s opener ‘Weights’ - boldly chronicle the shared despair and destructive habits of many young peoples modern lives. To posit societal complexities of needless over-consumption - such as binge drinking and product purchasing - in equal measure provides a droll overview of how holistic the singer feels the despair might be. 

In ‘Madge’s Declaration’, Lawrence says “I’ve got shoes but no soul”. The double entendre is not subtle, nor does it need to be. Their cohesive, unabashed disdain is a perfect note for those who share their tiredness.

DEADLETTER’s ‘Heat!’ is available on all streaming platforms and on Vinyl via Bandcamp.

Will Kemp
Image: ‘Heat!’ Official EP Cover

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