Dead Letter Circus: ‘Next In Line’


Dead Letter Circus – ‘Next In Line’

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I was pretty excited when I first heard Dead Letter Circus because here was an alternative rock band not concerned with aping either Cog or The Butterfly Effect but instead were interested in forging their own sound – a rock onslaught that brought together a multitude of influences.

They quickly found an identity, and one that appealed to people – lots of people. They found a large fanbase fast, despite years of slogging it out in the rehearsal studio, honing their sound. But since their eponymous debut EP, they’ve become stagnent, merely twisting their chosen formula into different contortions and not looking to evolve their sound. ‘Next In Line’ is disappointing not only because it demonstrates a paucity of ideas coming out of the Queensland four piece, but it’s a fairly pedenstrian effort. It’s heavily over-produced, clinically polished courtesy of ProTools.The chorus, which doesn’t rear its head until about half-way through, lacks the infectiousness of previous tunes as well.

But I’m not just lambasting DLC for the sake of it and there are positive aspects to ‘Next In Line’. The addition of synths are a nice inclusion, and Kim is keeping his vocals in check nowadays and not reaching for notes that he can’t hit live. Still, for all the potential DLC showed from the outset, it’s disappointing that they’re yet to completely capitalise on their success.


10 Responses

  1. Matt

    November 14, 2008 10:39 am

    here’s hoping things improve from here – not BAD, but not GOOD either… I would hope Forrester Savell (he’s the producer right?) has not smoothed them over too much…

  2. Sophie

    November 17, 2008 9:44 am

    I remember being under-age and sneaking into DLC shows in Brisbane when they were still playing at dives in Paddington to fifty people. They are so good live.
    Forrester (whilst known for his shiny production) has produced all of the band’s releases, including their excellent debut EP. I don’t think all of this track’s lacklustre qualities can be attributed to his production.

  3. Not Pop Enough?

    December 8, 2008 11:57 am

    What a strange review. Your gripes with this song was that it was too polished and the chorus didn’t come soon enough? So your preferred style is baldy produced pop?

    This song is great in so many ways and the fact that it doesn’t sound like everything else already out there, and they take pride in their production should be encouraged, not discouraged.

    (P.S. Using ProTools doesnt make your music sound good. It’s the highly skilled user behind the computer as well as a tight band and good song structure that does it. You should pop on to ProTools and see what comes out)

  4. locky

    December 31, 2008 2:56 pm

    CAn argue points about music so much. i personal love a late chorus…. its un predicatable… and i think in no means is that song over produced, its spot on how it is, i love that a chorus riffs hits early with no vocals… as a tease for wats comeing…
    there songwriteing is so unusaul its ,,, well good…

    yes my spelling is bad,


  5. Jay

    January 7, 2009 1:19 pm

    I reckon it’s a great track, not sure what you’re getting at with the review, I’ve seen DLC live three times and Kim has nailed it. These guys are a rare Oz act that can make the hair on your neck stand up, there’s an emotional energy and intensity there.

  6. Paul

    February 6, 2009 2:18 am

    Review = fail.

    1) The chorus does SO ‘rear it’s head’ early. As a matter of fact the song STARTS with the chorus in a stripped-down format, before lauching into the main-riff and first verse.

    The chorus then appears again at 0:50 before appearing again ‘about half-way through’ as you put it. This chorus lasts longer than the one at 0:50.

    2) ‘…since their eponymous debut EP, they’ve become stagnent…’

    I’m not even going to correct the spelling, or contest the idea that their sound hasn’t changed.

    I’ll only say that since the EP, this is the second song they have written and released. The first was ‘Reaction’.
    Hardly enough material to say that they have become stagnant.

    If you really want to criticise them that much, wait until the album is released so that there is more material to judge, and hence more of a trend of (apparently) becoming stagnant.

    3) ‘Not Pop Enough?’ commented correctly in saying that taking pride in production should be encouraged and not discouraged.

    4) ‘…Kim is keeping his vocals in check nowadays and not reaching for notes that he can’t hit live…’

    I don’t know what to make of this, it’s a ridiculous statement.
    I can’t imagine that someone would prefer it if singers don’t push themselves on a studio recording just so they are able to sing perfectly in a live situation.
    Apparently that’s called ‘keeping your vocals in check’.

    But anyway, it’s your opinion, so I’ll leave that for now.

    However, what I would like to point out are the high notes that Kim hits at 0:37 and 0:44, and other parts of the track, which are some of highest he has hit.

    Please don’t bash bands for the sake of it.

    If you don’t like the song, fine. Don’t listen to it.

    But don’t spread a lot of false information about the song and give the band a bad name.
    I have only corrected what was incorrect.

  7. Ford

    February 17, 2009 4:15 pm

    I have seen them live once and thought they were awesome! Kim was awesome to watch as i really dig what they have done on the EP. I am seeing them again in April down at Byron and cannot wait!!

    The new songs are as good as their old songs and i cant wait to listen to the new album!

    I agree with Paul, if you dont like them – bugger off and stop whinging about them!!

  8. Fuzz

    March 15, 2009 8:24 pm

    wow what a terrible review. “Stagnant”?
    DLC are one of the most innovative bands around there music is brilliant and their live act is amazing. Have no idea where you get of saying the chorus”doesn’t rear its head until about half-way through, lacks the infectiousness of previous tunes as well”. How can you possibly base an opinion of a song by the location of its chorus?
    And well said Paul I agree with everything you said


  9. John

    March 16, 2009 10:05 pm

    Loved the EP’s,and looked forward to seeing them, but when I finally saw them live, I was quite disappointed – no presence, weak singing, Kim really tries too hard – so much so I don’t listen to them anymore. I have seen a lot of bands in the last 20 years, both good and bad, and I have to say their live effort just didn’t cut it.



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