The Dangerous Summer

The Dangerous Summer

Written by: PP on 06/05/2018 18:08:49

The Dangerous Summer disbanded at the end of 2014 in dramatic fashion when AJ Perdomo, their golden throat vocalist, departed from the band, blaming rhythm guitarist Cody Payne for total domination of the band creatively and commercially. Eventually, the whole unit dissolved as a result, to the great disappointment of emotionally charged, indie-flavored alternative rock fans everywhere. After all, "War Paint" and "Golden Record" were outright masterpieces in the genre, where Perdomo's fragile croons atop introspective, but expansive instrumentation created an unforgettable dynamic. Much like Have Mercy, Strange Vacation, Balance & Composure and indeed The Jealous Sound, it was part emo, part alternative, and part indie rock, with huge crescendo-driven buildups to emotional climaxes and mastery of the quiet/loud dynamic. Once Payne was sentenced to a year in prison for a burglary, the remaining members found an opportunity to continue without him as a trio, and so here we are with "The Dangerous Summer", their fourth album overall.

The unit seems to have come out of the dramatic events unscathed, as the record is largely a direct continuation of "Golden Record" from five years ago. This was the record that saw The Dangerous Summer to expand their sound to a more lofty, Angels And Airwaves inspired, dreamy style. The songs grew larger and better suited for the bigger clubs the band was now playing, and that evolution is very much alive on this record. Take "Fire", for instance, which is enormous in its soundscape, yet it manages to keep the intricate quiet/loud dynamic in the mix just enough to avoid falling for the general "the bigger, the better" trap most bands stumble upon while trying to adapt their sound to larger stages (hint: bigger is almost never better). Similarly, "Live Forever" is quiet at first, but finishes in an ambitious, echoing soundscape. This pattern repeats itself across the record with plenty of tracks recalling their early, contemplative emo/post-hardcore days but which in the end come out like grandiose indie rock anthems.

To me, the band is still at their best when they opt out of the latter and continue exploring a darker and more introspective soundscape, such as on "Valium". Here, the vocals of AJ Perdomo really come to their own: the passages where his voice comes just to the edge of breaking into a scream are sheer displays of back-chilling brilliance.

That being said, the continued expansion of the soundscape is starting to show wear and tear. Some of the intimate moments of emotional outbursts have been replaced by more generic alternative rock anthems (see "When I Get Home", for instance). It's not bad, but it's also nowhere near the magical moments of their previous material. So despite having spent a good couple of months with "The Dangerous Summer", it doesn't leave as majestic and complex of an impression than "War Paint" or "Golden Record" did. Still good, but a little too arena-flavored for my tastes.


Download: Fire, Ghosts, Valium
For the fans of: Have Mercy, Strange Vacation, The Graduate, Balance & Composure
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.01.2018
Hopeless Records

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