At first listen you may think that the new album from The Flatliners lacks the heat of their last, but in a few spins you’ll realise that Dead Language lacks nothing. The variety of tempo and style demonstrated on Cavalcade is replaced by an assured step towards a more consistent and measured sound, which does cause the album to sag as we approach the climactic closers. Still, Chris’s growl has developed into a roar and ensures that none of the tracks feel weak. The album hosts some of the band’s best songs to date and I, for one, am relieved.
On this collection of unreleased or otherwise-unnoticed songs, Sundials demonstrate that 90s-rock-influenced punk bands needn’t be boring. The band exhibits less of their indie college rock influence and instead brings the pop-punk; the homage to Alkaline Trio extending beyond the cover art. Their last album didn’t do much for me, so I’m surprised how much I appreciate ‘Always Whatever’. You’ll find the tracks worming their way into your head and providing the soundtrack to your day. Predictably the record doesn’t flow as an album, but the tracks will be brightening up playlists for years to come.
Chewing on Tinfoil aren’t the first punk band in the last few years to graduate from ska beginnings, but Marrowbone Lane could make them a contender for the most successful transition (…The Flatliners?). It isn’t just the Dublin accent that sets this band apart; their rhythm-driven punk style is relatively unique and succeeds in holding together a wide variety of styles and influences. The album swings from energetic punk rock to more sensible pop melodies and indie riffs, folky twangs and the occasional sing along chorus for good measure. Start to finish, there isn’t a wasted track on here.