There’s a lot to be said for the development of radio music over the past year; it’s become a trend featuring cryptic lyrics, complex rhythms, key changes and experimental sound. Every new release is a step closer to the abstract as the charts adjust to a new-wave of pop-music. It brings to light an age-old debate on whether music needs to be complex to be considered great.
Dead Frequency are a high energy Glam-Punk band based in the Midlands, UK and their new EP Tough Tracks and Setbacks is solid, formulaic punk-rock. And it’s great. Matt Fantasi (Vocals/Guitar), James Bourne (Bass) and Sam Thorne (Drums) have created a four-track EP that defines itself as a short, sharp burst of happiness. It works as a subtle reminder that even in the hardships we are facing in the world at the moment, there are still passionate people locking themselves in bedrooms to create simple, good music. The choruses are intensely catchy, riffs infectious and the rhythm is bound to get anyone twitching to tap their foot. What more could one want from them?
One could describe it as a musical sitcom; it requires little concentration and is bound to lift the spirits. There’s no energy or effort needed in enjoying the music or any cryptic messages to be solved. Tracks such as ‘Nobody’s Listening’ are a saving grace for the radio Punk scene. We’re surrounded by an endless stream of pop-punk bands dominating alternative stations, creating an almost commercial status for the genre. Meanwhile raw punk would go against all its principles if it were to lend itself to mainstream listening. In between the two we find Dead Frequency; a textbook punk-rock band that won’t blow your mind, but they’ll certainly satisfy it. It’s a collection of mindless belters that you can’t help but hum along too. Perhaps it’s a tad cringey at times, but at the end of the day, Tough Tracks and Setbacks does exactly what it says on the tin, which is a lot more than what most EP’s offer these days.
Even with the predictable sound, the lyrics can often be quite witty. ‘You skip the verse that proves you wrong, then you’ll break the record and change the song,’ Fantasi sings in ‘The Devil’s Dream’. There’s that small, but surprising aspect of humour that draws a smirk as you listen. It’s genuine writing without any poetic technique to it and it’s fun. The words rhyme and the key changes are amusing so it’s undeniably free from any major flaws or criticisms. One could accuse Dead Frequency of playing it safe when their music should be a creative expression, but that would be nitpicking.
Overall, the EP is a spontaneous and pleasant listen. Each track runs smoothly into the other with a several earworms, but also a few forgettable ones, but that doesn’t make them any less credible. One cannot judge the album for its simplicity. If a cookie is baked following a strict recipe, it’s still a good cookie; whether someone adds food colouring for an edgy finish or not.
Tough Tracks and Setbacks EP is bursting with energy and passion, a trait that always transcribes well to live performances.
Tough Tracks and Setbacks EP is out now.