In recent years, bands like Bring Me the Horizon, Silverstein, and I Prevail have experimented by adding electronic and pop to their traditional heavier sound. The change-up has served them well, and it looks like Dead Lakes is poised to breakthrough by doing the same with their EP, New Language.
Dead Lakes – singer Sumner Peterson, guitarists Max Statham and Legacy Bonner, bassist Cody Hurd and drummer Chon Adam – not only have a sound made to attract fans of rock and post-hardcore, but they also sing relatable lyrics as they deal with emotions, struggles, and anxieties throughout the five tracks.
On New Language, Dead Lakes worked with producer Erik Ron, whose thumbprint helped bring out the best in the band. Having worked with bands like Issues, I Prevail, Set It Off and Palisades, Ron knows how to take a heavy band, dash in a bit of lightness and pop and blend it all to create a product that is pure gold.
The EP kicks off with “Close 2 Me,” a track that echoes early Saosin, especially the vocals of Peterson. They’re not quite as high as Anthony Green, but they’re definitely in the same neighborhood. Peterson vocalizes his fears of letting anyone in and allowing himself to be vulnerable. Peterson sings “Taking time / Building these walls too high / If I let you close to me / You’ll tear me apart,” while the rest of the band flows perfectly into his vocals, sounding like a well-oiled machine.
One of the big takeaways from New Language is that these guys really know how to write hooks and solid choruses. For example, “Paradise,” which is an absolute earworm. “Maybe it’s broken / Promise me that this isn’t the end / Hold your breath you know you’re frozen cold,” Peterson belts out on the chorus. Between the way the vocalist delivers the lyric “frozen cold” and the powerful driving guitars and drums, this track will be living in your head for a few days rent-free.
“SMS Happiness” is the strongest track on the EP. This was originally written for an R&B side project of the band, but the decision to include it paid off. Peterson gently carries the track for the first 40 seconds, until the rest of the band kicks the door down on yet another strong chorus. Adam also shines on drums, offering subtle, steady beats that maintain the mood and pulse.
Statham and Bonner have their moment in the sun on “NOGODSNOMASTERS,” which is the heaviest track on the EP. The guitars get to solo out as Peterson battles with the narrow-mindedness of religion and trying to find his way in the world without it. The band’s post-hardcore roots are on the table here, but it never gets too heavy where it loses the bounce, and pop capabilities heard throughoutNew Language. Combining their old sound with the new, this could be Dead Lakes potentially hinting at what comes next.
The EP comes to a close with “New Language,” which opens with a guitar riff will remind you of the beginning of System of a Down’s “Lonely Day.” The track takes everything in all the songs before it and sends the EP off on a high note. Aside from Peterson nailing each note, Adam’s drums carry a majority of the song while the guitars set the atmosphere. The EP opens with a fade-in and concludes with a fade-out, making it easy to hit restart once the 17 minutes of run time has come to an end.
The sky is the limit for Dead Lakes. If a full length LP is anything like New Language, they’ll find a way to make get the best out of whatever sound they choose.