Album Reviews

Dead Letter Circus - Dead Letter Circus (BMG)

Clayton Barnett

Brisbane band Dead Letter Circus drop a self-titled album of fine radio-friendly post-rock, but fail to deliver on their raw and potent potential.

A decade ago Dead Letter Circus made some big noise across the Tasman with their dynamite and similarly self-titled debut EP, featuring their Tool-like hit Disconnect And Apply.

Kicking off with a raw progressive rock sound like fellow Australians Karnivool (with some synth undertones in the mix) you felt like this was the start of something, especially with their hit 2010 full-length debut This Is A Warning.

But they’ve never quite reached those relentless heights since. No thanks to three roster changes including the loss of fan-favourite founding guitarist Rob Maric, who left during production of second album The Catalyst Fire.

Known for killer live shows, it seems that their frantic energy hasn’t transitioned to this studio album. Half the problem here is that the ten tracks of quiet / loud climaxing guitar parts do bleed into one.

The good thing is they’re not shy of sharing their message – they once toured to raise awareness of fracking – and the politically charged album is unhappy with the status quo on songs like the low tempo Ladders For Leaders and Trade Places.

It’s just the angst lyrics can be a bit on the nose. ‘Because I see right through / This new millennial you’, sings frontman Kim Benzie on The Real You. Having a go at hipsters seems like a grab for low hanging fruit.

If these guys were Kiwi it’s as if Blacklistt started sounding like Opshop, you can just imagine Jason Kerrison belting out the rather flat Running Out of Time.

Still, the opening track, The Armour You Own, has a great dirty riff and kicks off the album with an intensity that it doesn’t maintain. Halfway through the song there’s a meaty Shihad-like blitz of guitars and drums that’s criminally all-too-brief.

If there was more balls-out raw rock rather than the 30 Seconds to Mars navel gazing they could have had something worthy of sticking their name on.



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Released: 21 Sep 2018

Written By: Clayton Barnett