Album review: Dead Poet Society – FISSION

LA quartet Dead Poet Society comb through growing up on attitude-fuelled second album…

Album review: Dead Poet Society – FISSION
Rachel Roberts

“Division or splitting into two or more parts” is the dictionary definition of fission. It's an apt title for Dead Poet Society’s second album. It's a record that breaks apart what it means to be an adult today, and examines the tumultuous life events that change who we are – break-ups, addictions, loss, and the constant search for purpose and identity.

FISSION definitely sits higher on the food chain. The LA-based quartet continue to serve the fuzzed-up alt.rock they've honed so well across their career, but made it feel that little more sophisticated. Despite its exploration of topics that often make us feel weak, it carries a self-assertive confidence.

Opener 5:29:45 gets into this from the start line, its staccato stop-start structure bringing that swaggering confidence of Royal Blood or Queens Of The Stone Age. Hard To Be God marks a clear standout point, mixing both spoken and sung lyrics in its verses with frictional and crunchy guitar work. It takes a hard look into the ego in an era of social media and self-concern, without taking itself too seriously.

There’s even an essence of showmanship on concluding track Black And Gold, as its riff winds up and kicks out grandly like the persona of a ring leader. Jack Underkofler’s higher register peeps during the choruses before thundering back down, making for a yo-yoing suspenseful finish.

Listening to FISSION is a lot like watching the process of the sun burning a hole into something through a magnifying glass: it starts with just that tiny bit of smoke, and sparks into something a lot more exciting. Each track gets angry just enough, but doesn’t overdo it. It’s got an attitude but still feels classy.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, Queens Of The Stone Age

FISSION is released on January 26 via Spinefarm

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