It’s weird to see genuine excitement surrounding The Dangerous Summer. They’ve always come across as a rather lowkey, milquetoast little emo band, comfortable with slinking away into the background without really making too many waves all to themselves, but after a few years away fuelled by both creative differences and frontman AJ Perdomo’s decisions to focus on fatherhood, they’re back, now cut down to a trio and ready to go with a brand new album. What’s the most strange, though, is that even in their time away, the landscape around them hasn’t really altered that much. Sure, emo has grown in its overall reach, but sonically, The Dangerous Summer’s more traditional, alt-rock-leaning sound is one that’s still given plenty of push even today.
Perhaps that’s where so much of the hype behind this self-titled album is coming from, serving as the buzz behind The Dangerous Summer that they never really got the first time around. It’s more likely to be that than the actual music, particularly when this self-titled fourth effort lives up to every expectation of The Dangerous Summer’s output – a rather lowkey, milquetoast little emo album, not bad per se but seldom standing out amongst a crop that’s already fit to burst its banks. As such, it greatly limits what can actually be said here, particularly when this album feels more like an emo composite than a fully-fledged band, tying together the loose ends of a genre whose sound is very much rooted in something highly defined already. As such, what The Dangerous Summer can be judged on most is how well they’re able to co-opt this sound, and most of the time here, they do a fine enough job. There’s a feeling of worn desperation that comes in tracks like This Is Life and Valium, both in the tense guitar work and Perdomo’s vocals which never don’t sound like the whole world is bearing down on him, while the frontman’s dedication to his daughter on Luna is suitably tender in its reliance on warmer, more rounded instrumental tones. It’s not groundbreaking to any degree, but there’s a richness at the core of The Dangerous Summer that goes a long way in pushing that emotional core further.
That said, the fact that this album isn’t groundbreaking means it ultimately needs to go the extra mile to real make itself known, and that’s not something The Dangerous Summer do. This isn’t an album that wants to be flashy or extravagant, and thus tracks like Ghosts can end up feeling a little lacklustre and dreary both in the context of what’s here and the genre as a whole. This is an album ingrained in modern emo, and to see those ideas regurgitated here with little in the way of being transformed or added to can be disappointing, particularly when The Dangerous Summer aren’t exactly distinct songwriters like on Live Forever. The one exception is When I Get Home, which leaves mid-paced emo for something closer to gruffer, more rugged pop-punk, and to not only see a change of pace like this, but one that works as well as it does, is especially refreshing for this album.
But at the end of the day, what The Dangerous Summer have made here is likely to go down well with emo diehards and few others. They’re by no means a bad band, but without a great deal of recognisable personality, they end up bleeding into the ever-expanding crop of bands doing the exact same thing, and it’s hard to point out any particular feature that lets them stand out in this regard. The upside is that this album at least goes down well, and it’s not a taxing or frustrating listen, but even if it was, there would at least be something to talk about there. This is solid, but it’s not one that’ll be remembered after a while.
For fans of: The Maine, The Starting Line, Valencia
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Dangerous Summer’ by The Dangerous Summer is released on 26th January on Hopeless Records.