Dead Bars – ‘Regulars’ album review

Dead Bars Regulars album review 2019 Seattle grunge indie punk

We shared Seattle punk-rockers single ‘I’m a Regular’ a month or so back and now we’ve finally had the chance to listen to their new LP, also called ‘Regulars’ (out now via All in Vinyl in the UK).

The DIY sound of ‘Freaks’ opens the album and works as a fine introduction to what Dead Bars are all about. Clocking in under two minutes, it’s an outsider anthem that instantly brings to mind The Get Up Kids with self-depreciating lyrics about trying to write a hit single and not belonging before enthusiastic shouts of: ‘This is for the freaks. Turns out you’re all sicker than me’. ‘I’m a Regular’, with its observations on being an anonymous face in a familiar place follows and then it’s on to ‘Pink Drink’. This sing-along has elements of The Hold Steady and Culture Abuse as John Maiello pleads to be saved as ‘I’m trying, I’m crying, I’m dying’.

‘Time Takes Away’ also dips into bluesy rock but with blistering punk vocals being spat out: ‘It’s the wrong way to go’, while ‘Rain’ contains elements of the band’s home state’s proud punk, grunge and rock heritage – but with some classic British pop sensibilities. Think The Melvins meets Teenage Fanclub. ‘No Tattoos’ has John repeatedly declaring ‘All my friends have tattoos, but I don’t have any tattoos. They want to remember something. I wanna forget everything’ over a breezy bass line. The zesty and longing ‘I Need You’ has big hooks and a chorus to die for as John tenderly puts his feelings on the line: ‘I need you, you don’t need me.’; ‘You left me waiting’.

The closing ‘You Never Left’ is another more frenetic song (albeit with the ‘extensive running time of five minutes-plus) with nostalgia running through it as the band recall fond memories of first beers. These happy thoughts are then tinged with sadness: ‘But you never left and you always wanted to’ and ‘You were everything to me but you never showed me anything’. With killer hooks, honest words and a touch of humour throughout, Dead Bars have a sound that makes you feel alive. You’ll want to be a freak like them.

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