Some bands pay way too much attention to what’s come before them and end up sounding like carbon copies of their favourite bands. For examples of this, see Trivium’s The Crusade, Throwdown’s Venom & Tears, or Greta Van Fleet’s whatever Greta Van Fleet put out recently. (I don’t listen to them, but I’m told the Zeppelin vibes are real.) Other times, bands pay absolutely no attention to anything that’s come before them or even to anything that’s going on currently, which can lead to equally disastrous results. (Still lookin’ at you, Lulu.)
On Mea Culpa, Vancouver natives Dead End Drive-In (who incidentally get their name from a horror movie you’ve probably never heard of) have found an almost perfect balance between paying homage to their *numerous* influences and forging ahead with their own cohesive sound. Obvious pop-punk and screamo names like Blink 182 and Taking Back Sunday spring to the surface – especially considering the impassioned lead vocals. However, it doesn’t take that long for other, more diverse influences to pop up.
“Saturated Sponge” sounds in parts like a punked-up cover of a Tragically Hip song. The sparkling guitar introduction to “A Stranger Kind” would fit right in on the every-man rock of Oasis’ first couple of records. In particular, “Champagne Supernova” springs to mind. Of course, it does get heavier and faster, and once again avoids becoming a direct rip-off.
There are also twin-guitar leads all over this record that deserve a special mention. The same way that My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome To The Black Parade” gave Iron Maiden’s classic vibes a modern spin, Dead End Drive-In take on much of the fun and fancy of 80s hair metal without any of the inherent cheesiness in that genre.
This isn’t a short record by any means, but it’s entirely likely that when it does finish you’ll have been having so much fun with it that you’ll wonder why there isn’t more. This is a band to watch.
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson