They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and for fans of The Dangerous Summer, that is certainly the case. Having gone on hiatus under a cloud of turmoil in 2014, their time away has allowed vocalist/bassist AJ Perdomo, guitarist Matt Kennedy and drummer Ben Cato to grow as people through individual life experiences. During that time, their hunger to create music has grown, leading to their return and this fourth full-length.
Stylistically, there’s a sense of familiarity on show. Perdomo’s worn vocals, Kennedy’s sonically powerful guitars and Cato’s efficient drum work quickly brings a comforting characteristic, yet it’s also executed with renewed optimism. Songs such as ‘Wild Again’, ‘Valium’ and ‘When I Get Home’ stir and soldier along with radiance. An early highlight, ‘This is Life’, is an adrenaline rush of empowering emo rock as delayed guitars guide it through to its towering conclusion.
Although they prosper when delivering convincing emo rock anthems, Perdomo and company also have a tendency to pull things back. On ‘Fire’, Perdomo reflects on the past and being thankful for the highs and lows he’s been through, whilst delivering one of many soaring choruses. The motif of reminiscing is a constant. ‘Ghosts’’ downtrodden tempo complements Perdomo’s aching regret, while ‘Infinite’ recalls “endless nights” and being young and reckless.
Whereas ‘Luna’ is an endearing message to Perdomo’s daughter; “you are the architects of all your dreams”. It shines with enchanting wisdom and atmospheric instrumentation. It’s a tender midpoint that highlights Perdomo’s maturing songwriting.
‘The Dangerous Summer’ ideally captures a band who feel the need to look back before they can move forward. However, they don’t rehash past glories as these 10 songs are threaded together with clear evidence of personal growth. For the Maryland trio, it’s all good being fond of the past, but now they have responsibilities which they are embracing with encouraging results. A heartwarming return.
‘The Dangerous Summer’ by The Dangerous Summer is released on 26th January on Hopeless Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)