REVIEW: Dead Leaves – ‘Dead Leaves’ EP

Artist: Dead Leaves
Album: Dead Leaves EP
Genre: Emo, Pop-Punk, Alternative

It’s been a few years since the hey-day of Ohio’s cult-favorite pop-punk band, Call It Fiction — an emo-tinged group that pumped out some seriously catchy tunes from the Midwest back in 2010. The band’s EP, Something I’ve Never Felt, was a smash hit within the scene and absolutely worth a listen if you’re an old school pop-punker.

Sadly, the guys in Call It Fiction saw more lineup changes through the years than they did recognition, resulting in the dissolution of the group. For those who know the story, they quickly re-appeared as Dead Leaves and released an EP called Amend Regret. The EP provided a slight change in the group’s style, adding a bit of maturity to their sound, but ultimately it too went fairly unnoticed. Now, core members Elliot Blair and Alex Tucker have once again edited their lineup and released what they are calling the first official material for Dead Leaves; a self-titled EP that they hope will gather the attention the project deserves.

Taking a big step forward from their last release, the new Dead Leaves EP has improved the band’s sound in almost every category imaginable. For one, the EP ushers in a very unique style of sing-along emo-revival that is sure to connect with fans new and old. Most notably, Alex Tucker’s synthesizer has been dropped from the format, and the result is a softer, cleaner sound overall. In their self-titled EP, the guys transition nicely from soft emotional vocals over clean guitars to pounding drums backing memorable choruses that still ring of vocalist Elliot Blair’s catchy hooks and melodies.

Admittedly, I’m struggling to paint a picture of the band’s current sound. At best guess I’d say the new EP is a bit like The Wonder Years with less grit and distortion, or even Dan Campbell’s Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties. Like We Don’t Have Each Other, the Dead Leaves EP is full of powerful emotion and imagery, but offers a pleasing sound of its own.

Dead Leaves appear to have started with the sound they were going for in Amend Regret, and then taken a big step towards a softer, more mature sound with the new EP. It’s unique, and wholly enjoyable from start to finish. As an added plus, the recording quality on the new EP is as polished as the smooth transitions its songs offer; flowing swiftly from track to track without a displeasing note in its quick 20-minute runtime.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Scott Murray

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