REVIEW: DEAD LETTER CIRCUS – “The Endless Mile”
There are a thousand ways to express a feeling and sound has got to be one of the best ways to do it. Aussie rockers Dead Letter Circus seem to have tapped into the secret of merging interesting melodies and constructing wonderful songs.
Their latest effort ‘The Endless Mile’ is a consolidation of gems from their past records, reimagined in wonderful acoustic arrangements and recorded with utmost care and clarity. It is an 11-track exercise in self-reflection and thus best experienced in somber contemplation of life and its beauty. This is by far one of the most moving records of 2017, and the year has just begun.
The album opens with “The Mile”, highlighting the interplay between guitarists Clint Vincent and Luke Palmer. Singer Kim Benzie’s voice is as soulful and convincing as ever, and it’s a pleasure to hear his voice in my ears. The second track lays a minimalist approach with delayed notes sparsely powdered across the song.
“Disconnect and Apply” is a surprise as it incorporates a prominent string section that runs through the entire song and maintains a sense of tension, only cut through by the vocals. “This Life Awake” and “Alien” and “The Space on the Wall” reiterate the same spacy vibe with lush soundscapes and heavy use of the string section, although it may get tiring from time to time.
“Silence” and “One Step” are the last two songs on this record that sound meditative and feature heavy use of the piano. I could not help but draw a comparison to Backstreet Boy’s ‘Incomplete’. Don’t get me wrong – this is pop done right. I can feel the singer’s anguish in his words and delivery.
This brings me to the most interesting song off this record, which is “Are We Closer” – a song that is deliciously reggae. The use of the organ gives the song a unique vibe – it’s in your face and breaks the spacy-atmospheric vibe that the rest of the songs on the record. I enjoyed this song quite a lot indeed.
The production on this album is very well done, not seeming over-done or synthetic. The instruments are clear enough to stand on their own, but complement each other excellently. There are no loose ends, and the mix sounds huge in the right places while exercising restraint in others.
Overall, ‘The Endless Mile’ is a perfect soundtrack for a road-trip during the dying hours of the day or a nice rainy afternoon. Either way, I will be sure to give this record multiple spins in the months to come!