With their second EP, Malfunction, Dead Posey have struck again. After breaking into the rock scene with their debut album in 2018, the husband and wife duo (who came together in California) have outdone themselves. The name comes from the nursery rhyme “Ring Around The Rosey”, instantly showing listeners what kind of aesthetic they’re about to experience. Since their first release, Dead Posey have held onto that haunting, almost macabre sound that they do so well. The band were set to make their Download Festival debut this year but couldn’t due to Covid-19. Instead, they’re releasing the EP in defiance of current circumstance. Giving their listeners a gift in these troubling times.
Last November, I was lucky enough to see Dead Posey support Theory of A Deadman, and something tells me I won’t be seeing them support for much longer. They dominated the stage, and it is only a matter of time before they’re headlining shows across the world. Their song “Don’t Stop the Devil” has amassed 20 million streams, and featured on a multitude of TV shows since it’s release.
This EP consists of four tracks, starting with “Head of The Snake”. Looking at the names themselves, there’s heavy symbolism within the album. Specifically, the idea of “cutting off the head of the snake” is often seen as symbolic of putting a stop to a problem by targeting it at the source.
The EP invites you in with a distorted sound that is introduced to you in layers – drums, then guitar, then vocals. As soon as vocalist Danyell Souza comes into the mix, it is immediately clear that her voice is powerful, and that she has mastered the art of controlling it. In this specific song, she begins with a low sound that is reminiscent of an older, more classic sound with a modern twist. When the chorus begins, she turns the dial a bit and lets more of that power seep into her voice. And, the single continues like that. It builds up continuously from the first second, almost gently bringing you into the EP. This song is incredibly catchy – the riff in the background, the repeated lines in the chorus and bridge; it’s a song that becomes stuck in your head. I often found myself humming it or wanting to listen to it after hearing it for the first time.
The second song, “Parasite”, is similar in the way that the elements build up at the start. However, Souza’s vocals are showcased much more in the second single than the first. When the bridge comes, her voice drops low and is almost isolated (aside from a low beat in the background), only for her to tear into the chorus with immense power and strength. Once again, it’s catchy, rhythmic, haunting. Something about this song stays with you after listening to it. At a couple of points, a male voice is introduced ever so briefly, and it adds a new element to the song and EP. It’s almost as if, while the songs are built up at the start, new elements are constantly added throughout which just makes each song sound new and fresh, while also keeping the nightmarish, almost macabre feeling of the songs. They’re dark, haunting, and they linger in your mind.
The next track, “Bad Things”, has that same aura but feels a lot more stripped back than the first two. The instrumental aspect itself is almost equal to the vocals- the slow beat of the drums and low tone of the guitar match and accompany her vocals perfectly. Throughout the song, she never really belts out the lyrics. Instead, the entire single is extremely atmospheric, even featuring a brief guitar solo partway through. There’s something specific about it that makes it haunting, something I can’t exactly put into words but can feel while listening to it. I will say, however, that it feels electric. The heavily distorted sound, the tenor of each sound, creates a distinct connection between artist and listener.
The EP ends on “Holly Roller”, which is my favourite song on the album. The track starts with what sounds like a tape being put into a cassette player, and distorted drums are almost immediately thrown into the mix, alongside a bass that is plucked lowly. When her vocals come in, they once again pull you in. At the end of each line, the effects create the feeling of multiple singers on each last word. The bridge is then low, stripped back, as she prepares to put her all into the chorus. The song is a rollercoaster (no pun intended). It is a mixture of belting out the songs, whispering them, and singing with a kind of sweet purity. The instruments are stripped back and then added again. At about three minutes (almost the end of the song), there is a part where her voices is especially electronic and electric, before she throws herself back into the chorus. The instrumentals don’t slow down at the end, and the song is cut off. It is the perfect ending to the EP – the energy, the power, it stays until the very end.
My only selfish complaint about the EP is that I wish there were more of it. No matter how many times I listen to it, I can’t get enough. I’m absolutely living for the deadly, grungy take on classic rock that they’ve produced. Listening to it, I can hear influences like Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, but it also reminds me of bands such as Halestorm, In This Moment, and The Pretty Reckless. A strong, powerful female voice accompanied by haunting and dark instrumentals is probably my favourite sound, and I can’t wait to see where Dead Posey go next with this aesthetic. And I can’t wait until I get to hear an album from them.
Malfunction is out on June 19th