If there’s one band that set out to make 2011 the year they become a household name, it’s The Dangerous Summer. I might be in the minority in that I thought their debut full length, Reach for the Sun, was just okay. There were some really good songs, but essentially, the album felt like one big song, as a lot of the tracks ran together and featured similar structure, lyrics, etc. But with a full tour run on the Nintendo 3DS stage of Warped Tour (the best stage this year, in my opinion) and the phenomenal sophomore release War Paint, they have every reason to be hyped as the next big band from the scene.
By now, if you’re reading this, chances are you already know A.J. Perdomo’s a great lyricist. If you liked the lyrics on Reach for the Sun, you will be even more impressed with the material here. Unlike Reach for the Sun, where Perdomo was the “MVP” of the album, War Paint is driven by the guitar work. The duo of lead guitarist Bryan Czap, whose sonic tones are more reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World and Kings of Leon than anyone in the scene, and rhythm guitarist Cody Payne are the true stars here. Songs like “Work in Progress,” “Siren,” and “I Should Leave Right Now” are driven by the guitars. If you are a fan of delay/reverb-driven guitars, this is the album for you.
On “Work in Progress,” the band attempts a slightly heavier style than anything they’ve recorded previously, with Perdomo even screaming in the outro. While it may be slightly abrasive for fans who are used to the band’s more reserved style, it comes out as one of the better tracks on the album. “Siren” is my favorite of the bunch, with an infectious riff and chorus. The singing from Perdomo in the bridge is perhaps the high point of the album.
Also notable is fill-in Spencer Peterson’s drumming, which I enjoyed most on “No One’s Gonna Need You More.” While the band gets lumped into the pop-punk or emo categories, they have more in common with alt. rock bands, like the previously mentioned Kings of Leon. Peterson’s drumming is right up there with great alt. rock bands that dominate the radio. From a live perspective, the band’s drumming is now the best it’s ever been, especially on War Paint songs, with drummer Tyler Minsberg’s return.
While The Dangerous Summer gets placed in a genre/category with bands they don’t share too many similarities with, it’s only a matter of time before they break away from the categorization. With one listen to War Paint, it’s clear this band deserves radio play. If The Dangerous Summer isn’t the next band from the scene to break through into the general public, I’ll be shocked.