ALBUM REVIEW: “Dead Sara” by Dead Sara
I’m going to keep this review simple: no over-analysis, no elite music journo-speak to appear smarter than you, no obscure comparisons that you have to Google in order to understand.
Take every insufferable sunshine pop tart of negligible talent, every faux punk “I’m a bad ass (insert snarl, spit, and photo of Avril Lavigne here),” and every simpering, drowned in treacle, doe-eye ingénue, and place them beneath the heavy-heeled boot of Dead Sara and crush accordingly.
There. All better.
Los Angeles’ Dead Sara is Siouxsie Medley (guitar), Emily Armstrong (vocals, guitar), Chris Null (bass), and Sean Friday (drums) and they are that thing the music industry needs, particularly the XX-division and this eponymous debut will establish them as a brilliant diamond on the music/hard rock scene with no measurable equal. For forty-three minutes and 11 tracks, Dead Sara brandish talent and skill as a weapon against life, love, and mistakes with a warrior level of ferocity, heft, and attitude carried by the “holy shit!” dangerous and dangerously beautiful vocals and range of Armstrong who morphs from grunge/punk priestess to melodic songbird without breaking a sweat.
Don’t be lulled into a sense of security by opening track “Whispers And Ashes” with its anthemic soar of not falling victim to past regrets (“Well, it’s my mistakes that comfort me.”), for once the song fades, you’re shoved into the first of their many accelerated gears with “We Are Not What You Say” and “Weatherman.” Partner in the rock/blues/metallic rockfest, Medley, has a sick sense of what to do with a guitar: distortion, crunch, melody, riffs to make your fist pump, chords to make your head bang. Null and Friday bring up the rear with all cylinders intensely firing: muscular, fret rumbling bass with a punk jones, keeping pace with the hardest working, thunder drum rolls and fills you’ve heard in years. Raw and polished, primal and passionate, even when they dial down the incendiary levels (“Sorry For It All”), they’re no less rebellious and riveting. See “Face To Face” for heartbreaking ugly truth with a vocal delivery that will either leave your mouth agape with awe or crush your fucking soul. Possibly both.
Gift of the rock Gods = “Lemon Scent.” Between the ridiculous awesome of the eye-watering pitch-perfect harmonization between Armstrong and her guitar and the tell it like it is lyrics of the art of selling out (“Fuck your instincts, everything you do is for somebody else.”)…just know that music may never be the same. Dead Sara has changed the game.