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Dead Favours - Album Review: Riffing & Yelling Part 2

30 Mar 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu
One can only imagine what New Zealand’s alt-rock royalty Dead Favours have experienced over the past 18-plus months crafting their new EP, enduring release delays whilst juggling life and working, on top of navigating the weirdness of the past few years. (Come to think, I CAN imagine since my band has been through the same thing BUT this isn’t about me, haha)

For those not in the know, this four-piece from Tamaki Makaurau Auckland consists of guitar player and frontman Jared Wrennall, drummer Charlie Smith, guitarist Kyle Wetton, and Alex Elvis on bass guitar. Formed from other well-loved and respected Kiwi groups like Steriogram and Skinny Hobos some seven years ago, the group have not stopped gaining momentum after releasing one acclaimed LP and EP each, plus numerous powerhouse singles. Oh, and plenty of reports of them blowing away crowds at 2021’s Jim Beam Homegrown festival!

Now, there’s no doubt there have been long hours put into this follow-up to their 2021 Riffing & Yelling EP, suitably titled Riffing & Yelling Part Two. Existing fans won’t be surprised to hear their hit single Sink Or Swim is a fixture on this new EP, as is the newer song Chase The Sun, serving as the opener.

So let’s take a quick journey into this new chapter of Dead Favours’ adventures.

The six-song sojourn begins with a desert-rock number tinged with a mild influence of sludge. Heck, even the single’s cover appears to nod at this, with a painted figure atop a horse strolling through a sun-bathed, dusty landscape. The guitar sounds are as thick as they are scorching, as though to reflect the heat of a desert.

The chorus line “We only just begun to breathe; I’m off to chase the sun” works so well, as though to make a statement: “We’ve made it through the past few years, now let’s continue our mission”.

And the rapid-fire breakdown of guitar and drums makes the song extra intense - Listen out for that!

Don’t Wait On Me is a noticeably more punk-rock number, as drummer Charlie punches in fast one-two notes during choruses, and vocalist Jared summons a little bit of Muse’s Matt Bellamy’s high-notes. In fact, the guitar tone employed for the solo definitely has resemblances to some of those used on the latter band’s early recordings.

Sink Or Swim’s sexy groove and easy-to-sing-along choruses, and Roundabout’s dancey yet fist-pumping rhythms make them easy standouts of the EP. In fact, having seen both those songs performed live (plus other tracks too, of course) and witnessing how much they can move audiences should make decent testament.

However, my personal highlight is One Last Drink, kicking off as a hard-rock number that gets fists pounding on bartops, heads banging thanks to its crunchy barrage of guitar chords. Clearly a good, hearty song about a night out, as the vocals cry “It’s time to say goodbye! It’s last call!”.

But then the unexpected happens. Midway into the tune, the rhythm of the song shifts into a dizzying-sounding waltz, the oddly psychedelic atmosphere working with distant backing vocals, all seeming to soundtrack one’s booze-soaked haze. You know, those Sunday 4am episodes, stumbling in the rain, searching for their Uber home. The song slowly fades out, save Jared’s soft crooning of “One last drink… For me.” A touch eerie, but this is extremely creative stuff, and definitely a very entertaining listen, each time more enjoyable as I press repeat on the EP.

Where the first EP of Riffing & Yelling had oodles of swagger and attitude, Part Two bears more variety and experimentation. However, I certainly could envision the two served up as one full-length release, either one following the other, or the tracks shuffled into one another.

Nevertheless, Dead Favours have plated up a fresh new batch for fans and rock aficionados alike to fill their ears with. And to witness these songs live sure would be a privilege! Be sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram for the dates to their upcoming Aotearoa New Zealand tour, and listen to them on Spotify, YouTube, or purchase via Bandcamp

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Dead Favours

Combining a mix of huge fuzzy and sometimes quirky riffs, groove-laden drums, beautiful falsetto vocals mixed with arena commanding screams and a level of songwriting that some say has been missing from rock for some time, Dead Favours have been quick to grab the attention of the New Zealand music scene and are going from strength to strength in a very short time.

Since their formation in early 2016, the band have released a string of singles, the most notable to date being Dig (produced by Shihad’s Tom Larkin), a riff-centric banger that quickly grabbed the attention of both audiences and radio programmers alike, spending an impressive 27 weeks in the charts. The success of this debut single lead to a nationwide tour alongside the already popular Skinny Hobos, Decades and Bakers Eddy which saw the band increase momentum and pick up an army of new fans all around the country.

The band quickly followed with the singles High Flying and Better The Weather (produced again by Tom Larkin) which has seen the band go on to be invited to perform at festivals such as Jim Beam Homegrown, Demon Energy Rock The Park and share the stage with international acts Royal Blood and Rise Against which was received with rave reviews;

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dead Favours

Releases

Riffing & Yelling Part 2
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Riffing & Yelling Part 1
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Misbehaviour
Year: 2019
Type: Album
The Dead EP
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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