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May 14, 2010 / Darrell

Album Review: This Is The Warning, Dead Letter Circus.

It was a quiet night in Maroochydore. An eerie dark shrouded the Sands Tavern as the lights dimmed. The crowd stood as the clock slowly approached midnight. The automatic jukebox faded into the background. And then there was silence. A haunting silence so soft it screamed to be broken. The building anticipation quelled by the first sounds of a guitar creeping into the room. It hit like a train. A blinding white light filled the room as the sound grew. What followed was a statement. With a mixture of clean, crisp guitar and raw, yet polished vocals, they made a statement. We are here. We are going to be big. We are your new favourite band. We are Dead Letter Circus. And that was their warning of things to come.

Dead Letter Circus. A term coined to when clowns and monkeys can’t return undelivered mail to the sender. It is also the name of the best Brisbane band you’ve probably never heard of. They’re a cleaner, sharper sounding Chevelle , a more interesting The Butterfly Effect and a hidden gem shared by few, ready to break into the world with the release of their debut album, This Is The Warning.

Upon first listen, This Is The Warning seems different. Not bad different, but new different. It didn’t rush out of the blocks like The Mile. The first track, Here We Divide, moreso strolls out with an air of maturity. It embodies the style that is Dead Letter Circus, but lacked the spark to make it an iconic track; like Alien. This foreign feeling persists throughout the album, with the exception of previously released songs: Reaction and Next In Line, more on these songs later.

The second single, Big, was easily the highlight of the album. Combining the signature haunting guitar with a quicker drum beat, it will no doubt have the greatest mainstream appeal (possibly second only to The Space On The Wall). However, at points in the chorus you can’t help but feel like it left you hanging; expecting it to take it up just one more notch.

The inclusion of older songs, Reaction and Next In Line, gave a much needed sense of familiarity to the album. However, it also gave the feeling that Dead Letter Circus were just trying to play it on the safe side. While the sound of This Is The Warning is slightly different, personally I think it would have worked better if they put their all behind the change, rather than including songs fans know and like just in case.

It is hard to mention This Is The Warning, or even Dead Letter Circus for that matter, without mentioning their unique art style. The work of Australian graphic artist, Cameron Gray, is distinctive to say the least, and completely, utterly, massively, intriguingly, awesomely brilliant to say the most.

While This Is The Warning did not reach out and pull the ground from beneath my feet like the EP, it has definitely grown on me since first listening. It is still Dead Letter Circus at heart, with their sound and brilliance. I’d highly recommend this for fans, although don’t be alarmed if it takes some time to warm up to it. For those of you who haven’t heard of Dead Letter Circus; if you are into a heavier kind of rock, perhaps the self-titled EP would be a better place to start, whereas if you’re more into mainstream/alternative rock, there’s no time like the present and This Is The Warning is here now.

Powder-who? Dead Letter Circus is the Brisbane band to watch this year.

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3 Comments

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  1. James Pusey / May 17 2010 2:15 am

    I got the impression that you don’t really like these guys.

  2. Darrell / May 17 2010 7:57 am

    Mmm, perhaps I was slightly disgruntled that the album wasn’t the hard hitting kinda songs of their previous EP. But since it has really grown on me, and I feel kinda bad for being so harsh.

  3. Harrison / May 17 2010 11:44 pm

    They’re definitely exploring newer sounds; I’d argue this album is actually less mainstream and more prog/alternative than their previous releases. The inclusion of three old songs (The Space on The Wall was originally released as a stand-alone single in September 09) did make the album feel a little disjointed but I think it was done to help old fans like myself get on board with the slight change in sound.
    And I do emphasise slight change- it’s still the same band and if you love any of their songs you will love this album. For my album highlight I’d go ‘The Drum’, it’s a song that grows on you 😀 Here We Divide and Walk are also getting many replays on my computer atm. I know their new stuff is gonna go off at shows, can’t wait!! This is the Warning would be an awesome gig closer

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