It’s been a great year for Australian grunge. First the new Violent Soho full-length Waco came smashing its way through our eardrums, and we’re lucky enough to be sitting down (finally) with the latest release from The Dead Love, the Sydney-based hard rockers that look like they’re fit to cement their place as one of the masters of nu-grunge. And, stoked to say it, they’ve aced it in spades!
Right off the bat, their single “Frown” is the kind of single that establishes a mid-tempo mastery that is hard to find these days, a mixture of Title Fight and Nirvana in equal measure. These might seem like odd bedfellows, but in a world that’s seen twenty six years elapse since the latter band released Nevermind, it only makes sense to meld the better parts of their approach with snotty punk, skater vibes, and disaffected pop. Though the result could have been a sickly pastiche, instead what’s come out of it is an album that’s tighter than a mosquito’s ass in a nosedive.
In all seriousness, the 90’s vibe exuded from this album manages to skirt the line between moody and exultant, and it’s precisely the kind of thing I’m retconning among all the other tracks I would listen to while playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater a lifetime ago. And if you understand that reference, you also know how big a compliment that is. For the record, I meant every word of it.
That isn’t to say it’s one extended playlist of bangers with kinetic energy. There are songs that break up the flow of the album an alarming number of times. The difference is that they’re not a chore to sit through, they’re part of the fun. Either revelling in the nostalgia they elicit or the genuine sweetness they embody, they’re part of the package, not self-important material that distracts from the album.
Though the amount of slower songs kind of kills the vibe at times, when the band does flex their speed, it can seem breakneck, so they stay in third gear for a lot of their songs, but this wouldn’t be a ’90s nod if that wasn’t the case. But now I’m just nitpicking. This is a new classic album that’s going to firmly cement its place among the rest of the skate rock and new grunge of the world today.
So Whatever Track Listing:
05. Love Drugs
06. Untitled By Association
07. So Whatever
11. The End
Run Time: 33:15
Release Date: September 9, 2016
Check out the song “Frown”