In 2021, Dead Favours released the first half of their album to great acclaim, winning the Rock category at the Aotearoa Music Awards, and finally we now get the second half with another six songs – let us hope that at some point we get the two combined on vinyl as a complete set as that is what this deserves. The quartet comprise lead singer/guitarist Jared Wrennall (Steriogram), bassist Alex Elvis (Skinny Hobos), lead guitarist Kyle Wetton and drummer Charlie Smith, and they are rightfully known as one of the most exciting and vibrant live bands on the circuit. Charlie keeps it all tight at the back, while Alex knows when to sit in the pocket and when to move forward. All this is happening while Jared easily moves from “normal” singing into falsetto, bouncing his guitar against that of Kyle who either keeps it tight or takes it off into tangents. This is melodic NZ hard rock which is a load of fun, never taking itself too seriously from a musical viewpoint, yet also cutting deep with meaningful lyrics.
They can groove when they wish to, create solid anthems at others, always with the bounce which is infectious and invites the listener deep inside. The set commences with “Chase The Sun”, which is dark and full of sludge and stoner riffs, quite different to what one normally expects from them, which then moves into the far more light hearted “Sink or Swim”. This is typical DF, with the rhythm section doing most of the work, Jared creating lightness with his vocal approach, and then the guitars and harmonies coming for the chorus. Of all the songs on this collection it is the one which most closely ties in with those on the first part. This set feels more experimental in some ways, as the band spread their musical wings and move in different directions, not staying as close to their musical base as they did with the first half. “Roundabout” is one of the highlights, with the verse moving in one direction, and then the chorus coming in with a crunch which turns into a monster when played in the live setting.
When they do release this as a full album I believe it will work better if they change the order of the songs so instead of having the first part on side one and the second part on side two, actually consider the way the songs move and swell as a blend will make this finished result very special indeed. Bring on the tour! 8/10 Kev Rowland