20 Dec 2018
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Dead Celeb - Album Review: Dead Celeb

07 Mar 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

The debut self-titled album from Wellington’s Dead Celeb, is just as hard to pin down genre-wise as it is to find anything to do with them on Google. Experimental Rock of the 80’s and 90’s is the closest I can come to truly describing their sound; with a combination of potential influences from the likes of The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Decortica, Nine Inch Nails, Chris Cornell, The Rolling Stones, Muse, David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, System Of A Down, Villainy, and I Am Giant.

The eight-track album starts of full-pace and full-noise with The Face Bleeds Bronze, switching from an almost dainty dissonance into strong, powerful chords. While the track is split into sections, this isn’t the typical verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus layout. We have a number of different riff types, many of which unaccompanied by vocals (perhaps unhindered, is a word better suited). Not at all saying the vocals are sub-par; varying between a deep svelte melody spoken-word, and the passion-filled high harmonies, they are able to convey a variety of emotions. Vocals don’t cover the full length of each track, instead, employing silence to place emphasis on the music itself. The entire track is full of a fierce frantic energy that penetrates deeper each time you play it.

Kepler 10c starts and within the first three second, you can feel that air of familiarity that makes you instantly enjoy what is to come. That first three seconds where I can almost hear the drop from the start of Weezer’s Hash Pipe, followed by the opening note’s from I Am Giant’s City Limits, before going in a completely different direction. James Cartwright inserts a brilliantly funky bass riff, almost mirroring Julian van der Krogt on the guitar. The brilliance in these tracks is the stark contrast between the riff sections, frequently changing pace throughout the song. Performing double duties, Julian’s vocals have a charismatically, dark, and haunting characteristic to it, again in contrast with James’ backing vocals. The stand-out track for my personal tastes, as it makes the body want to move and sing along.

Ceremonial Defeat is the song that has a more traditional mainstream feel to its composition in its first act but spends the entire second half of the track with an extensive almost fully instrumental outro. Perhaps the most understated part of the album is Hans Weston’s use of the drumkit. Rather reserved in the flair of the fills used, Hans compliments the other instruments, striking the perfect balance between overbearing and lacking, it works well with the style of the tracks, providing some really exciting content, such as in Breath in Your Wave, yet transitioning into the more basic patterns when needed, all the while maintaining that consistent snare.

Dead Celeb have that air of confidence and experience in their sound. There is no hesitation, no shakes in the voice, nothing sounds unsure; everything was chosen deliberately for a reason, and recorded with precision, to create a very clear, unique composition. The band are in no rush, and allow each riff and arrangement to get it’s time in the spotlight, with tracks averaging four to six minutes in length, and Breath in Your Wave coming in at over seven minutes long. The dedication to their craft is palpable. They have created a group of tracks that are exciting to listen to over and over again and is guaranteed to remind you of that rock song you love; that inexplicable combination of something memorable, with something completely new. With a vocal character that is somehow “David Bowie meets Mick Jagger” deep and quirky (Dancing in the Streets anyone?), but undeniably kiwi in its twangs, Dead Celeb is definitely the 2018 release that will be difficult to beat.

The album is due for release March 28th, 2018.


Review written by Alex Moulton

 

About Dead Celeb

Releases

Dead Celeb
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Urge Empire EP
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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