Dead Poets – Paper Crane / EP (2014)

The punk/hardcore scene often disregards bands for being too familiar and yet at the same ignore the innovators and boundary pushers because they are too different!
So what’s a band to do? Play it safe and risk getting lost in the masses or push things forward and risk being out on your own? Well in the case of Dead Poets, they’re doing a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.

The EP opens with these beautiful clean/roomy guitars, screamed vocals and an ambience familiar to fans of the genre. It’s a great moody start and I was glad to hear the big thick guitars and massive drums shift the band into heavy-mode about a minute into it.. I knew at this point the band isn’t just going to stray from the path…they’re going to weave all over it. One minute there’s a big melodic heavy section and then it drops off to a more restrained and quieter passage. It builds up again and releases the tension with the ‘heavy/big’ bits. So it stays interesting but it’s not entirely new either. Track #2 is the continuation of that huge opening track and gives more of the same. I wonder why they didn’t just make it one big long track?
By now the post-rock meets post-hardcore style is well established and the delivery is spot on.  And..I reckon the comparisons to Pianos Become the Teeth won’t hurt at all and are perfectly accurate for this material.

The screaming/shouting vocals carry really well, there’s some nice clean/backing vox early on but they’re quite subtle. Lyrically there’s some really intriguing imagery being painted here and although I’m not quite sure of the meaning behind it all, there’s clearly some thought being put in there. It’s loaded with quotable and memorable lines and phrases!

Track #4 ‘If You’re the Cure…’ is a real highlight track. Starting with the scowling vocals/clean guitar start which seems to be a repeated formula here it’s not until the double time/punk rock pace kicks this in the right direction and it feels freeking great! It also contains some interesting drumming that sounds like it belongs in a metal core band but the twinkly guitars keep it from going there and it’s actually quite an interesting moment. It challenged my expectations of the band to do what is ‘normally done’ and kept me engaged waiting to see what they chose to do next. Nice one.

Where I felt it all start to loose it’s impact was in the last track…a straight up ‘la dispute/tiny moving parts’ spoken word start. The band kicks in again as with previous tracks and but now leaves nothing to the imagination. Not saying it’s boring, but I have heard this before by other bands and even on the earlier tracks here. There’s the reverb-laden leads wailing over the top of the nice melodic chords and roomy drums and it feels pretty big…epic actually. Maybe this is where I was hoping for more experimentation…clean backing vocals? Cello? Even a nice instrumental passage to fade out? Instead it feels like it just gets wrapped up..kind of like..’wah? That’s it?’

Overall its plenty long enough, there’s maturity and depth, plus huge replay value to this EP and I fully dug the bands surprises and confident delivery of post-rock-hardcore music. This is a really good release for people who want some not-metal or hardcore music which still carries passionate and emotional energy. It’s clever and it sounds really really good up loud! Kudos to the engineer 🙂

It’s a Pay What You Want release via bandcamp and if you feel inclined, I reckon it’s worth some coin. A pretty damn solid introduction to a band that I will be watching with great interest to see what they come up with next.

RIYL: Pianos Become the Teeth, Tiny Moving Parts, Touche Amore, Calculator, Barrow, Caravels

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