The Dangerous Summer’s second album War Paint will be released on 21st November through Hopeless Records. As soon as the grandiose opening licks of their new album’s title track burst forth to open the record, it’s obvious that The Dangerous Summer are going for bigger and better the second time around. War Paint is the culmination of two years’ worth of maturity, musical growth, experimentation, sacrifices and tireless effort, and the end result is a go-for-broke tour de force in modern rock.
War Paint doesn’t completely change directions from their 2009 Hopeless Records debut, Reach for The Sun, but offers detours to new artistic qualities acquired in the past two years. There is more depth, grit and fearlessness, with plenty of musical and lyrical muscle to drive the songs at a steady clip. Rare moments of vulnerability are revealed, but are then promptly contradicted by AJ Perdomo’s urgent, resilient vocals. When the album culminates with the hesitantly hopeful ‘Waves,’ you feel as though a tidal wave has carried you from start to finish in one breathless, spirited crescendo.
Guitarist Cody Payne describes the motives behind the album best when saying that “battles” were a consistent theme through the music and its recording, and what ultimately lead to the album title. “War Paint really just comes from the battles that we as a band face every day, whether it be within the band, within the music industry, personal battles, or relationships at home. Being in a band and touring full time isn’t always the easiest thing in the world; it takes tons of sacrifices and this album is mainly about that.”
The band took their time recording, choosing again to work with Reach For The Sun collaborator Paul Leavitt (Circa Survive, All Time Low). Ensconced in the studio for the better part of half a year, it was a lengthy process that brought out the best The Dangerous Summer had to offer. The layered guitars and heart-on-sleeve sincerity reminiscent of forerunners like Jimmy Eat World ring true on this record, but it was when digging into their past that the band found their inspiration. The unflinching honesty and rawness of bands they admired at a younger age, including Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday, were touchstones they revisited when creating the record.
“We wanted to show that it’s still possible to write a song with a message, and it can still be catchy and can still be played by a real band,” Payne said. He added that the title track and ‘Work In Progress’ are two songs that predominantly reflect what the record encapsulates, and “could even foreshadow where we may go with our next album.”
Any notion of a sophomore slump has been soundly defeated with the cohesive and brightly intense record The Dangerous Summer have crafted. Whether it’s on a summer’s length of Warped Tour, at one of the band’s sold-out, riveting club shows, or through headphones in their own bedroom, War Paint is an uplifting-yet-realistic soundtrack for anyone who is still conquering battles of their own.