With a bright wave of synthesized ribbonry to greet us at the door and a plethora of gilded melodies waiting just beyond the threshold, Dangermaker welcomes us into their world of mind-bending music with “In a Dream,” track one on their new album Run. We’re told in a half-whisper that “What’s done is done, let’s move on, ‘cause you’re consumed in a dream” before being drawn into the vacuum like vortex of texture that the song gives way to. As one cluster of synths fade into the ethers, another comes stomping out of the darkness and through our stereo speakers in “Pressure,” the jarring leadoff single that has (so far) served as the biggest hit of Dangermaker decade-long career. It’s a ram jam rocker that’s guaranteed to leave big impression, but it’s only a taste of what Run brings to the table for music fans everywhere.
The cathartically jazzy “I Won’t Let You Down” adds a shot of dance-worthy adrenaline to the LP before making room for the breakneck yearning of “Isolation” and its droning successor “Ashes to Ashes.” The ambient pop of “Everything Will Change” reminds me a little of Balloon Ride Fantasy but slightly less cutting, while the glistening psych ballad “Face the Facts” represents a new style of music altogether. There’s a lot of layers to dig through in Run if you want to discern the bones of one of its tracks from another, but if you listen close enough you’ll hear the hallmarks of a really melodic pop band beneath the ocean of harmonious distortion and feedback.
“Something More” is the best Dangermaker song that I’ve heard up until now, and I’ve been following this band since they got their start back in the late 2000s. Longtime fans will notice the dramatic difference between songs like this one and the material found in their first album, which despite being affectionately playable and humble by design failed to capture the attention of critics on the national level. That isn’t the case with this record, and I doubt it ever will be again if this is the caliber of content that we can come to expect in Dangermaker output from here on out. I was hoping this would be their breakthrough album, and it absolutely exceeded my expectations.
A feverish drum pattern accents the streaking riffage of “In Vain” before clearing out to give the gothic “Sleepwalking” room to breathe. “Sleepwalking” is one of the more top-heavy songs on Run and its excellent placement towards the end of the record brilliantly shifts the mood of the listener as Dangermaker chugs towards a climax. The echoing synth eruption in “Fantasy” primes us for that climax in the anthological “Never Go Back,” which poignantly brings the album to a close in a discordant tizzy of amplifier destruction. From start to finish, it’s extremely difficult to find flaw within Run. Dangermaker have just accomplished what most artists will work their entire lives towards achieving, and that is to make an album that will stand the test of time as a quintessential piece of the rock n’ roll songbook. I loved every minute of what I heard, and I’m betting that most – if not all – of my fellow rock fans will too.