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Dead Letter Circus - Dead Letter Circus CD (album) cover


Dead Letter Circus



4.24 | 11 ratings

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4 stars The Search Begins

The thing that I think impresses me the most about Dead Letter Circus' self-titled EP is just how apparently the Dead Letter Circus sound is already. The band would become world famous for their tight and massively overdubbed riffing, the electronic-inspired drums, the bouncy and groovy basslines and the epic soaring vocals from Kim Benzie, and somehow they had all this worked out before their debut release. Right from the start here, the lead riff of "The Mile", the unique riffing is there. The chord sequence of the riff is hardly unique, I've heard it hundreds of times, what was unique was the way it was played, with the hints of delay and reverb, played with quick tremolo and using equal amounts of palm muting and fantastic open chord playing.

Some people call Dead Letter Circus their best release, that the band found their sound so early on that they mastered it first and kept attempting to recreate it with subsequent releases. Of course, I got into the band through This Is the Warning, so my expectation for this debut after a while of hearing how much better it was was a bit high. Unfortunately, after several listens, I can't report to find this anywhere near as good as their full-length, as much as I would like to.

Although I said that the "DLC sound" was apparent on this EP, what's missing here is a lot of the structuring and epic melodies that were on This Is The Warning. The instrumentals and great performances are here, for the most part, but what they're playing just doesn't hit the same strings as the stuff on This Is The Warning. There are hooks and melodies here, some truly great ones in the verse of "The Mile" and the chorus of "Are We Closer", but compared to a track like "Big" or "This Long Hour" from the follow-up, which seemed to string together a half dozen fantastic hooks in as many minutes, these tracks are nothing but 'pretty decent'.

There are most certainly some fantastic moments here that rival some of the best moments on the full length. The guitar part during the midsection of "Lines" is one of their best guitar parts, and I really love the outro transition into "Disconnect and Apply", with those thunderous pounding drums. There are hooks in nearly all of these tracks that are pretty good, but the one on "Are We Closer" (? I want to know your name?) is up there with the first 6 tracks on This Is The Warning in terms of catchiness.

All of the songs here are good, but that's what I expect. I honestly don't think I've ever heard a Dead Letter Circus song I didn't like, but this is just a foreshadowing of what's to come, a glimpse at the sheer melodic brilliance of This Is The Warning.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Gallifrey | 4/5 |


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