You’re just a litany of horrors like the evening news.
Ian Metzger’s got some pipes, dude, and the words to back them.
The lead vocalist for Dear and the Headlights is no doubt breathless by the end of each track on Drunk Like Bible Times – and it may leave you, the listener, much in the same way.
Though no longer an active band, DATH released two memorable albums. Both are classified as indie rock, but have some strong folk and even country influences offset by post-punk sentiments. I’m sure written out that sounds strange, but it just works. On Drunk, Metzger howls, wailing up and down like a banshee, but is often backed by some reflective acoustic guitar or piano. It’s certainly not hardcore by any means, but yelling is often the only way one can get their point across.
I’m having a tough time trying to describe DATH’s style because it lacks any real borders – always a good thing, to be amorphous. The Last.fm recommendations are The Snake, The Cross, The Crown and Colour Revolt, as well as Paper Rival. Of those three bands, I’m most familiar with Colour Revolt, and while I can see a fair amount of similarities musically, Metzger’s vocals just seem to put this over the top for me. His soaring verses (“Cal Solomon Blues”) and bridges separate bands of this same ilk and string in the indie scene.
There’s just something positive about DATH in spite of some of their melancholy lyrics that seems to put me in a good mood. Maybe it’s because I’m long-winded or wordy that I connect so well with the band – and I’m not even normally a stickler for vocals.
“Flowers For My Brain” hits particularly hard:
We’re swaying in subconscious subways so insane
But your thoughts still bring flowers for my brain
And I still pull my hands past your ribcage
Hoping my movements might find their place at your side
For as long as you’d like
And we will weave in and out of sanity unnoticed
Swirling in blissfully restless visions of all our bleary progress
Glowing in radiant madness
It bums me out that I never got to see DATH in concert, because they seem like they’d be an amazing live act. If you’ve got a chance to see a band you like, don’t pass it up. Music turnover these days is like being in sales – here today, gone tomorrow. Go to that show and enjoy yourself so you don’t look back after they’ve broken up only to say, “I wish I’d seen them.”
From 2008’s Drunk Like Bible Times, here’s Dear and the Headlights’ “Bad News” –
Standout tracks: “Cal Solomon Blues” and “I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, Are You?” are wild and upbeat. “Parallel Lines” is stripped down and beautiful.
Weakest track: “Try” has its moments, but I often overlook it. A lot of people will really like it though.
RIYL: Indie rock – anything dusty or folk-influenced. Colour Revolt is their closest musical cousin.