There’s a lot to be said for a winning formula – and East Anglia’s Dead Reynolds have clearly burned the candle studying the best-of-alt-rock blueprint. New full-length collection Breathe with Strangers follows the template to the letter and sees them graduate with first-class colours. Think punchy-yet-palatable high-octane power pop with light-touch punk accents - loud enough to give vent to brewing rebellion yet polite enough to take home to the folks; a guaranteed hit for spin class soundtracks, yet just as fitting for front-of-festival capers. Certainly, if you fancy getting a sweat on it’s got your name on it. Just don’t expect to get your breath back during a mid-album lull.
Given the glossiness in evidence here, it’s hard to believe the five-piece only came together in 2018 – but the fact that the lads already knew each other from playing the Cambridge and Peterborough scene has clearly been a bonus in getting them from inception to finished article at a rate of knots. While their youthful exuberance comes through in spades, there’s no denying that the high-sheen production has the band’s most bankable attributes in mind.
With an aptitude for slightly maudlin verses that morph almost seamlessly into out-and-out chorus belters, it’s not hard to see why they’ve already earned comparisons to the likes of Funeral for a Friend. That said, frenetic opener Tried is a breach of the peace that smacks of Greenday crashing headlong into Bloc Party on an overcast evening while The Only One plays up the pop-tastic elements, frontman Callum Van Wolfe Waterfield carrying the proceedings like a tortured soul who also just happens to be the reliable life and soul of the party.
And the calorie-burners keep on coming: Lines and Bring It stand out from the rest of these neat, three-minute blasts while Dust provides a proper slap around the head – in a good way. It’s good to hear them try something a little different on Up All Night, an acoustic-based affair that creates an engaging intimacy.
While it would be great to hear the rhythm section more punched up in the mix at times, it’s undoubtedly a thoroughly modern feel that will make young audiences bounce around for hours. As for us oldies, it’s probably time to get with the programme.
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