So, The Dangerous Summer are on a bit of a roll at the minute, eh? Not just with their 2019 album Mother Nature, but also its follow-up EP that next year All That Is Left Of The Blue Sky, both of which tapped into the melodic richness and scope that colours the best of 21st Century emo, with the lack of much-deserved buzz to boot. Make no mistake, their subsequent move into the NFT space feels about as clunky as literally every band who’s also tried it, but that’s no reason to write them off when they’re currently on the most fertile ground their career has seen yet. On top of that, it’s coming entirely through years of experience paying off; sonically, they’ve roughly never left the place they started, but have just become so much sharper and keener within it, by a noticeable amount at that.
Coming Home only looks to further than sentiment, as more of the same, but the sort of slow-burn stunner that just gets everything so right. The Dangerous Summer are able to hit all of their usual touchstones without succumbing too heavily to their own formula. Because it is, in the purest definitely, formulaic, but the rock-solid core can skirt past most repetitiveness when it’s this bracing. Dimensional Love and Wide Open illustrate that the best, as the guitars and drums surge forward with incandescent force and truly feel powered up for what’s effectively the most ‘usual’ rock band setup. There’s no flash or gimmickry that The Dangerous Summer are bringing outside of the occasional synth bezel for added colour, and it’s also never really needed.
That could similarly be applied to a lot of their recent work, of which Coming Home represents a lateral move rather than an upward one. The bold heights that its artwork might infer come as little more than occasional new flecks of colour, but that also never gets in the way of its quality. If this felt sluggish and uninspired, that would be one thing, but The Dangerous Summer have gotten so good at tapping into emo’s sweeping massiveness. The opening title track sets the scene ideally, as do All I Ever Wanted Was A Chance To Know Myself and Sideways to follow. They carry a power in the long, crystalline guitars and some expansive drumming from Christian Zawacki, seldom innovative but universally bracing in what they have.
There’s also AJ Perdomo as a vocalist, who isn’t so much a ‘secret weapon’ as operating on the same notably higher tier as his bandmates. Again, he’s a very consistent presence across The Dangerous Summer’s work, melodic but never mawkishly so and with enough grit and imperfection left in to count. Especially on the acoustic Big Green Eyes that brings him into a slightly lower register where the crumbling edges of his voice are their most exposed, it’s evident how much of a lived-in performer he’s become. The warmth feels deliberately worn and even curdled in spots, but that’s also just right for where The Dangerous Summer are coming from.
As far as the actual emotion itself goes, it can be rather broad (as is probably to be expected from this kind of band), but Perdomo combined with moments of shimmer or power gives it its edge. At no point does Coming Home feel glazed over or deliberately settled on a surface level, even despite a lack of lyrical flourishes. It’s just a really comfortable fit for where The Dangerous Summer are, returning to their creative roots as an outfit and keeping their humanity on full display.
To put it simply once again, The Dangerous Summer are continuing down the path they’ve laid for themselves lately, as doing it with barely a hitch to speak of. Sure, it’s not the most enriching experience that music can offer in terms of new ideas, but that’s also not the point when as a big, welcoming alt-rock treat, Coming Home is everything you’d want and then some. It’s enough to conclude how The Dangerous Summer are approaching a similar stead to someone like Jimmy Eat World, of bands whose advancements are more methodical across each release, but bring out the best in hugely accessible emo without fail. It couldn’t be more worth a listen.
For fans of: Jimmy Eat World, Real Friends, Saves The Day
‘Coming Home’ by The Dangerous Summer is released on 26th August on Rude Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall