Aussies con­tinue to rise, but fail to ex­cite.

Prog - - Intro -

When it takes a band four al­bums to re­lease a self-ti­tled record, it usu­ally means they’ve fi­nally found their iden­tity and they’re ready to tell the world. It’s Dead Let­ter Cir­cus’ time to go all epony­mous on us, with singer Kim Ben­zie pro­claim­ing that the band have “reached a point of a col­lec­tive mind state” in their ca­reer. It’s hard to tell if he was just spin­ning a well-worn story ahead of the al­bum’s re­lease, but what’s clear is that Dead Let­ter Cir­cus feels like the band’s most co­he­sive record yet, its 10 songs tight and tena­cious.

But while it packs a punch, the al­bum will strug­gle to pique the in­ter­est of prog purists. Its left-turns are found in the jagged riffs and ex­plo­rative sound­scapes, but they’re frus­trat­ingly shy. Tracks such as The Real You show why the band have toured with 30 Sec­onds To Mars, with Ben­zie’s hooky vo­cals soar­ing above slabs of well-crafted, con­tem­po­rary alt-rock. Amid the arena-friendly pomp there’s a hand­ful of dal­liances, like the al­most-djent riff in Home or the dis­tor­tion-into-elec­tron­ica fi­nale to Say It Won’t Be Long. Dead Let­ter Cir­cus are get­ting big­ger, but are they get­ting bet­ter? Prog fans won’t be so sure.

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