It is fair to say that the first album from Dead Reynolds has been an eagerly anticipated encounter within the UK rock scene. For the past two years alone the quintet has been stirring up eager praise their way with a host of singles and plaudit gathering EPs but now Breathe With Strangers has arrived to end the wait and we can only expect and assume given its hungry fertility their debut full-length will only brew even greater attention and major success for the UK outfit.
For newcomers, East Anglia hailing Dead Reynolds was borne in 2018 from the union of former members of Phoenix Calling and The First, they uniting after the demise of those successful outfits. Completing the line-up soon after, they were quickly drawing ears and praise their way as songs and their sound revealed an anthemically emotive roar distinctly of the band’s own making. As singles have earned extensive radio play and support from stations and varied parts of the media so their reputation has equally grown for their live prowess which has seen the band share stages with the likes of Deaf Havana, Mallory Knox, Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) and many more as well as headlining their own fan flooded shows. Now we are here with the unveiling of that first album and you can only think that everything before has been merely the prelude to the boisterous uproar Breathe With Strangers will welcome.
The band’s mix of alt and pop rock has proved a flavoursome and adventurous affair and is perfectly highlighted within the album starting with opener I Tried. It drifts in from the distance, vocals and melodic reflection gathering before stepping into the spotlight of ears with energy and eager enterprise. Straightway the band’s trademark casting of hooks and infectious endeavour is surging through ears, being ridden by the just as familiar emotion carrying tones of vocalist Callum Waterfield. The band’s songs have also proved to be just as unapologetically pop nurtured as they are rock driven, the evidence in full drive straightaway.
The great start is more than backed up by The Only One, a song also starting from afar before exploding upon the senses and imagination. Its reflection in word and voice is surrounded by a relative calm woven by the guitars of Dom Greenwood and Luke Reid though you sense a volatility which soon grows and bursts in another contagious roar driven by the swinging beats of Luke Green and Ben Knowles’ dark groove honed bassline.
The outstanding Lines follows, shadows springing its anthemic persuasion which is part snarl, part trespass and all virulence. That fusion of catchiness and aggression holds a weave of melodic intensity and vocal passion within; they in turn aligned with deeply rooting hooks and rhythms with their own mix of turbulence and manipulation as pop punk and anthemic rock colludes.
The band’s new single, Not My Place, leaps on already highly aroused senses bringing its own emotive fire pit to the fore. From its instant eruption, the song is a controlled melodic inferno fuelled by that emotional drama and intensity the band taps into so well. Inescapably contagious yet with an angst that seeps into the physical prowess of the track to breed emotive aggression, the song is a burning sunspot of Dead Reynolds craft and songwriting.
As Uninspired casts its intimate irritability amidst a melodic kaleidoscope and Voices, from its celestial calm, sweeps through ears like an emotional gale, Breathe With Strangers revealed more of the textural prowess and skilled layering making up the band’s sound while Bring It Down leading with a spirited jangle quickly takes tears on a stroll with a smile on its lips and swing in its body. No surprises that even in its pop natured intent it subsequently escalates its energy and dexterity to share its own individual roar and raucous incitement.
That busy and almost clamorous aspect to the band’s sound is fully uncaged within Dust, a slice of punk infused rock that picks its moments to explode while continuously involving the listener in its instinctive catchiness before Pieces weaves another slice of dilemma and passion. Greenwood and Reid cast an almost web like lure for ears within its impassioned plea with Knowles unleashing one of his deliciously gnarly basslines we have grown so greedy for across those aforementioned singles alone.
Adding another strand to the album’s temptation with its acoustically woven, radiantly lit seduction, All Night had ears gripped and the imagination alive in swift time, the band just as dexterous in warm balladry as anthemic uproars with successor, By Your Side, mixing the two in its landscape of feisty hollers and contemplative calms; a song always poised to erupt upon another moment of rhythmic orchestration from Green and Knowles.
Album closing Bright Lights epitomises the Dead Reynolds craft in, from relatively mellow if emotion rich peaceful reflection, creating cauldrons of fervent outcry fired by an emotive blaze. It is a fine end to an album we and all fans hoped it would be and more.
For the past couple of years Dead Reynolds has been threatening to grab the UK’s full attention they just need to unlock the door. The fiercely enjoyable and impressive Breathe With Strangers has all the qualities and thrills to be that key.
Breathe With Strangers is released via Fort Records on 17th September.
Upcoming live dates:
Sept 16th – Dukes Head Ballroom, Kings Lynn (album launch night – with Tom Lumley and the Brave Liaison and Kingdom Keys)
Sept 17th – The Junction, Cambridge
Sept 18th – The Met Bar, Peterborough (supporting LeBrock)
Oct 1st – Voodoo Daddy’s, Norwich
Oct 2nd – The Joiners, Southampton
Oct 9th – Pint Shot Riot, Birmingham
Oct 30th – The Rock Den, Hatfield
Nov 13th – Off the Record Fest, Brighton
Nov 27th – One Fest, Norfolk
Pete RingMaster 14/09/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review