Dead Bars never intended to get this far. They were only meant to record one demo and tour Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico (so the joke goes). Yet four years in, the Seattle punks have various EPs and splits on their resumé and played more shows than they ever planned. More importantly, they are now releasing a debut full-length in the form of ‘Dream Gig’.
The seven songs that make up ‘Dream Gig’, excluding the piano intro track (‘Overture’), stick to the band’s punk rock tendencies with all but the titular track being straight to the point. John Maiello’s vocals are rebellious, snotty, and occasionally grating, yet it suits his band’s beer-soaked, thoroughly raw sound perfectly. ‘Earplug Girl’ sets the tone with Maiello singing about a tale of a girl being ditched for the bassist of another band, even though she lends him an earplug. Simply put: don’t expect some mystical wordplay on ‘Dream Gig’.
Beyond songs about going to Vegas (‘Always Bet On Clark’) and refusing to face the reality and just play in a band (‘Face the Music’), it’s clear to see that Dead Bars are a band that takes pride in fist-in-the-air, gruff punk anthems (’D Line to the Streamline’). While good time rock n’ roll guitars add to the drunken party feel, the odd strong melody ensures songs such as ‘Tear Shaped Bruise’ stand out.
The aforementioned title track closes the album in ambitious fashion. As Maiello sings about ageing rockers, wailing guitars drenched in feedback take over, as the quintet let themselves loose, embracing punk rock’s carefree spirit.
With a bit of patience, ‘Dream Gig’ becomes a snappy, favourable record. While, initially, one track sounds unidentifiable from the next, Maiello and company’s passion for punk rock shines through. Dead Bars don’t plan on taking over the world, but with ‘Dream Gig’, they intend to supply the soundtrack to drunken late nights, giving hope to anyone who wants to be in a punk rock band.
‘Dream Gig’ by Dead Bars is available digitally now and will be released physically in April on No Idea Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)