The Dangerous Summer is an alternative rock band from Maryland that has released a few EPs and two full length records. Within the scene the band has garnered a loyal following. While a lot of music fans swore by their last record, Reach For the Sun (RFTS) it did not take the band to the level many anticipated or hoped it would. The band continued to tour relentlessly and do what it could until it was time for a new record. With some internal issues along the way some questioned how the new record would stand next to RFTS. War Paint is an eleven-song record that picks up where its predecessor left off and takes things to greater heights as a whole.
The album starts off with the album title track that intros with pounding drums and guitars. The song has a great build up to an extremely warm and catchy chorus. It is a “bigger” chorus that will go over extremely well in a live setting. This a great opening track all around. Fans of the back catalog will really appreciate this song as it just sounds like the Dangerous Summer. Following the opener is one of the first songs released, “Work in Progress.” This song is completely different than any song the band has written in that it is vocally aggressive and heavier overall. Musically, this is one of the most interesting songs the band has written. The guitars in the background adding the layers are particularly nice. It is one of the best songs on the record and one of the best songs the band has in its name. Everything from the music and AJ Perdomo’s passionate delivery make this an enjoyable listen. After such a taxing song (in a good way) it will be hard to follow up, but the third song is tied with its predecessor as the best track on the record! “No One’s Gonna Need You More” is just a great pop/alternative rock song. It is about that someone special and it’s upbeat, catchy, and the lyrics are very strong. It is a natural progression from some of their past work as well. “Good Things” and “Siren” are both strong songs and close the first half of the record out.
As someone who is not a huge fan of the The Dangerous Summer’s past work, this album in the first three songs has done enough in the convincing department to be sold.”Everyone Left” starts the second half on a strong note. This is more of a steady rocker that stands on strong lyrics, atmospheric guitar tones, and good drum fills. Spencer Peterson (Hidden In Plain View, Black Cards) wrote and played the parts on this record and did a phenomenal job. Original drummer, Tyler Minsberg has since taken his spot back in the band due to Spencer’s other commitments. The song has a Third Eye Blind feel to it and everything about that is okay. “Miscommunication” is a toe tapping number that has an upbeat message and rhythm. Again, the guitar layers and drumming are just top notch. Cody Payne and Bryan Czap do a great job with the guitars throughout the record.
“I Should Leave Right Now” continues the album forward with more solid rock that is more mature sounding than its counterparts in the genre, but still being extremely catchy. “Parachute” is another heavier (for the band and genre) and upbeat number that keeps the album moving as the end approaches. “In My Room” is perhaps the most mellow song on the rock with its slower pace. It is still a rock song, though. There are no downer tracks or the mandatory acoustic song on this record. Some are faster, bigger, aggressive, but all are rockers in their own right. The album closer, “Waves” follows with the rest of the album. The best part of the song is the overall feel that things can and will get better, regardless of how tough things are. Again, just a great message that is easy to relate to regardless of age.
Overall, War Paint is a great progression for this band. Fans that thought RFTS was the second coming, might not enjoy this as much because of the lofty expectations. However, the musicianship and lyrics are all a step up. The overall recording might not be as clean as RFTS, but quite frankly the rough “edges” on the overall sound give a real/live feeling to it. For those that want to hear something new and have yet to hear of this band, there is a lot to like with this record. There are no gimmicks or cheap recording tactics. It’s honest music that is from the heart. For comparisons, the Starting Line’s Direction, Third Eye Blind’s Out of the Vein, and Northstar’s Pollyana come to mind for different reasons. The is an exceptional album that deserves to do well in this climate. It is still early in the year, but it has the feeling of an album of the year contender. There is no reason it can’t be in that discussion. Due yourself a favor and give this album a listen or two or three.