Dead Sons’ long-awaited release Hollers And The Hymns is heavy and pounding like the hammers that carved the Steel City from which they hail. Full of squashing baselines, riotous guitars and double bass pedal drums aplenty, this one is not for the faint-hearted.
Hailing from Sheffield, a location with such an archetypal ‘rock sound’, the obvious comparisons will always be made and, in truth, even the Arctic Monkeys would have been proud of this bumping debut album. It actually sounds much like the Monkey’s later work, which is a compliment to the band’s maturity. Describing themselves as ‘desert rock’ I was, upon introduction, expecting something a little more Clash-infused desert rock instead I was treated to a lonely desert rock a hard-pressed, high impact rock.
Leading track ‘Ghost Train’ is punchy and full throttle and leaves you in no doubt of what the album entails but the stand out tracks are ‘Shotgun Woman’ and ‘Room 54’. These tracks fly out of the traps and launch into banging drums and scything, snarling lyrics from Rowley that are only matched by choppy, fuzzy and noodling guitars. Both are headbanging dance floor sureties. “You’ll be Frankenstein I’ll be Halloween, shotgun woman blow me to smithereens,” he sings.
The rest of the album manages to paint the bleak picture of modern Britain and the concept of desert rock with all it’s cold and harrowing undertones. The impressive thing is they manage to convey the proud loneliness through the merging of melodies and technical prowess that surpasses most of their compatriots.
The influences of this band are obviously varied across genres but there is a certain ‘American heavy rock’ element that runs throughout the entire 14 track record. There are, however, some breathers from the Queens of the Stone Age style as we are dropped into the almost Dickensian track ‘Temptation Pool’, which is drawn, subtle and low key; a welcome refrain for when the double bass begins to wear. Showing their ability to attack both ballads and the more raucous numbers.
Dead Sons have been sitting on this record for a while now, biding their time and waiting for the right moment to release it. This is seemingly that moment with the current influx of British rock that is about to be released. The record is solid as well; hard, fast and relentless in its delivery, the only worry is that with all the British Rock coming out this may seem a little one dimensional and worst of all, too Foreign which might explain their current popularity in Turkey.
It would be a shame to cast this record aside with all its musical astuteness and purist ethos; this alone will win Dead Sons critical acclaim and a host of fans, which is no more than they deserve.