Formed in London in 2009, Dead Social Club are a sextet of musicians who fuse genres as diverse as electronic art rock and post-punk. While still to break into the national conscience, the band have been gigging steadily across Europe, and have recently released debut EP ‘Syrian Kisses’, prompting airplay on BBC 6Music and Absolute Radio.
Let’s first say, it is refreshing to hear a band so unselfconscious as Dead Social Club. Electronica? Check. Keyboards? Check. A sound that pitches itself somewhere in the interstellar region between Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds? Closer still. It is pop, and it’s not pop. It’s rock, and it’s not even rock. Guitars don’t seem to matter to DSC as much as good song-writing and nifty fingers at the effects station, though when they come to the fore there are some striking riffs on ‘Syrian Kisses’, particularly on single ‘Let Love Die’.
It is a sound strikingly nostalgic, and yet more modern, with sharper, indie guitar hooks and dramatic vocals. That said, the message is simple: “We love each other and we love music,” say the band, and it’s difficult to fault such candidness.
Opening track from the EP is ‘This Painting is Cursed’, a three-minute tune that calls to mind Friendly Fires with its upbeat-but-trippy languor. But while FF juxtapose nu- and old rave, Dead Social Club are markedly more pinioned between indie and electronic, with keyboard in the middle portion reminding this reviewer of the new Horrors album – cinematic and widescreen in its availability.
‘Let Love Die’ is an excellent single, hence its recent selection by BBC 6 as best-of-the-week inclusion in their weekly podcast. Opening with a stanza of drums, the song ratchets into life with a near-acapella opening line, before the music blasts to life once more – crunching guitars paving the way to an inimitable riff that is the song’s main backbone. This song resonates like a cousin of White Lies’ ‘To Lose My Life’, albeit with a less grim message. Toward the end of the song, all of DSC’s musical arsenal is revealed – keyboards, relentless electric guitars and a powerful bassline coupled with some nice reverb-meets-fushion style mixing at the production controls.
The final track on the EP is the self-titled ‘Syrian Kisses’, and though it lets us get our bearings in the middle portion, the first and final third feature brooding imagery in the lyrics and another excellent guitar hook. This, more than the others, could be classified as the darkest song on the EP, showcasing a more post-punk than indie.
Having supported the likes of Mystery Jets and Maximo Park in their short tenure so far, not to mention rocking a crowd of 5,000 at the recent Conincx Festival in Holland, Dead Social Club are more alive than their name suggests. This band comes highly recommended.