Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#11 of My Top 12 Albums of 2015: Pleasure To Meet You

Dead Sara's Pleasure To Meet You

Release Date: March 31st, 2015
Label: Pocket Kid Records
Genre: Hard Rock, Garage Rock, Blues Rock

    This album was one of the first to grab my undivided attention this year. It was released in late March but up to that point, I had only come across one or two albums that really thrilled me, so its understandable when I tell you that I played this album all the way through multiple times once I found it, and I still do the same today.

    Dead Sara is a blues rock band out of L.A. who have just recently broken into the musical scene. Though the group had formed together over almost a decade while they all grew through their teenage years, they only released their self-titled debut in 2012, which immediately charted and landed them a spot on the Vans Warped Tour, quickly getting them a lot of attention across the states. started the following year, 2013, the group entered the studio again to record what would become Pleasure To Meet You.  This process took the band a little less then a year which means the album was finished about 11 or 12 months prior to the actual release date. I am unsure what exactly happened but from what I have gathered, they dropped their previous label, EpicRecords, and created their own by the name of Pocket Kid Records.  Despite this label kerfluffery, they were able to finally release the album to the public after the release of the "Suicidal" single.

    I myself had not heard Dead Sara prior to Pleasure To Meet You aside from their cover of "Heart-Shaped Box" by Nirvana on the inFamous soundtrack, though I only realized that was them in hindsight.  Thankfully, I ran into them via Spotify and it has been hard to turn away from them since.  Their sound is very reminiscent of punk rock or blues rock icons from the late 70's and 80's, notably Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks, the latter of which they have cited in an interview with SSG music is a primary influence for the vocalist Emily Armstrong, who's strong yet rough vocals really set the tone for each track on the album.  That is not to say that she is the only important member, guitarist Siouxsie Medley and bassist Chris Null define the flow of many of the tracks such as "Mr. Mr." and "Something Good", the latter of which showcases the perfect harmony these two present and will be discussed later below.  Drummer Sean Friday follows with the rest of the band by not doing anything too overly complicated for the blues rock group and fits perfectly into their niche, though he does have opportunities to showcase his talent as well, one of my favorite examples being in "Lovesick".

"Feel Right at Home"

    One of my favorite tracks is the above song. "Feel Right at Home". I feel this is one of the best, if not the best, example of the group coming together as a cohesive whole to create a very powerful and memorable track, whereas a few of the other tracks focus on one or two members of the band, typically Armstrong.  This song features a strong stomping beat set up primarily by Medley and Friday while Armstrong is allowed to experiment a lot and really test the limits of her own voice, reaching high notes that she typically does not stretch for in other songs.  This culminates to a soft break, letting the duo of Armstrong and Medley take over until the rest return for the addictive chorus. This song also has what I believe to be the best mixing on the album, which I would say is probably the weakest element to the album: the production work.  Noah Shain produced both albums for Dead Sara and he does a good job at keeping their rough garage style of music intact, but there is something left to be desired. I do not believe that they need to get a new producer, he definitely has talent and his previous work speaks for itself, I just think he needs to work a little closer with them to help perfect their sound like he did on this track.

"Something Good"

    One of Dead Sara's singles, "Something Good", managed to secure a video, letting us see the amazing group of people we are listening to.  This is the song that really hooked me onto the band, as the first single from this album, "Suicidal", did not thrill me as much as this one. It has a nice bouncy feel to it and really focuses on Armstrong's strengths as the guitar, bass, and drums fall to the backdrop until the chorus rolls around.  It is one of the happiest songs on the album with a great uplifting tone that will keep your head up high and a smile on your face as you listen.  Some may say its the "popiest" or most mainstream of the songs on the album, which may have some merit, but it would honestly be beneficial if the charts were filled with more amazing tracks like this.  It also helps bring the album together after a relatively strange opening group of songs with "Suicial", "L.A. City Slum" and "Mona Lisa" which do not seem to fit together well. With "Something Good" and the remaining seven songs to follow, the album feels more like a cohesive entity rather than a collection of singular tracks.  That is not to say that those first three songs are bad, on the contrary "Mona Lisa" feels a lot stronger and heavy-fisted than most other songs, yet dives into a bluesy, almost motown, feel at times, culminating in a weirdly satisfying mix of styles. Likewise, "L.A. City Slum" and "Suicidal" are both also good tracks, just maybe not as enjoyable as the rest, at least in my opinion.

"Radio One Two"
    After "Something Good" comes "Lovesick", "Radio One Two", "Mr. Mr" and "Greaser" which just follow one after another as great track after great track, slowing down with the soulful escapade of "Blue Was the Beautiful You" and ending with the one-two punch of "Feel Right at Home" and "For You I Am". Every single one of these songs deserve to be played over and over again. "Radio One Two" above is probably my overall favorite on the album, being one of the most enjoyably fast-paced hard rock songs on the album with maybe a bit of late 80's or 90's punk in it. The band as a whole come together here to make this defiant blast of sound to get you off you feet from the second it starts to the second it concludes.

    I strongly believe, as do many others such as Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl, that Dead Sara could be one of the biggest rock bands in the coming years and they could easily claim the 2010's as their decade with a couple more albums and more radio play. With the path that they have been on and the explosion of recognition they have been receiving despite the fallout with their last label, they are posed to become as big as Halestorm became in the latter half of the 2000's. They are an exciting band with an interesting fusion of Blues Hard Rock that has not been explored this well in many years and I hope the best for them in the years to come.

Click here for Dead Sara's official website
Click here for Dead Sara's official Facebook page
Click here to buy Pleasure to Meet You from iTunes
Click here to buy Pleasure to Meet You from Amazon.

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