Written By: Zoe Porteous
Label: Fat Wreck Chords – Rating:
Dead to me is a punk rock band from San Francisco. Three years after their highly praised debut release, “Cuban Ballerina,” Dead To Me returned with the long sought- after follow up full-length album, “African Elephants.” The lengthy time between albums seems to have paid off. Fans have been clamoring for a finished product and here it is. I don’t know if that is such a good thing. While the band has matured and grown a new sound, they are still uneven. The very first track, “X”, sounds like a bad reggae version of what it could have been. I understand that they are playing with their sound but come on guys. This album also differs from their first by not having guitarist/vocalist Jack Dalrymple take part. He is still in the band, but taking a break to care for his infant son. Instead, guitarist/vocalist Nathan Grice has taken over the vocals. His voice is melodic and easy to listen to, which helps songs like “cruel world” become more enjoyable.
There are a few tracks that help the album along, however, Dead to Me seem like they are trying to break out of the mold of other punk rock acts before them, but not really getting it right. There are a few tracks that I quite liked. “California Sun” is one of them, which is a mellow anthem that will remain on my playlist. “I Dare” is another saving grace. “Don’t be afraid there’s still strings attached, I’ll let go if you go first.” This is a typical line from “I Dare” which sums up so many relationships its sad.
All in all they know what they are doing. They are not bad musicians, it just sounds uninspired. I don’t get a sense of any passion behind it. If I cant feel the bands’ energy and love of what they’re doing then I cant love the album. We shall see what the next album from the band sounds likes. Perhaps with Jack Dalrymple back they will be more cohesive with more energy.