Release date: June 8th, 2018
It’s been three years since Dead Sara released their second album, Pleasure to Meet You. Since then fans have been eagerly awaiting new music from the rock band. They ended the wait with their newly released EP, Temporary Things Taking Up Space. The six-track EP marks a new chapter for them. It’s their first release since bassist Chris Null’s departure in 2015. It also finds them moving in a slightly different direction. The band has always been known for their raw, dirty hard rock sound. While they haven’t completely left that behind, a good chunk of the songs show off a new, lighter side to the band.
Dead Sara experiments with their sound on songs like “Anybody” and “Times to Remember.” Neither of the songs have the hard, raw sound we’re used to. Rather they’re both light and upbeat, but still, have ferocity to them. The first song finds them messing around with synth and has a hint of pop resulting in a catchy song. The latter is more melodic and energetic, yet keeps their fierce drive intact. It sounds similar to the material on their second album. It also feels more personal with singer Emily Armstrong addressing her own insecurities and trying to fight unhappiness. With frequent conversations about mental health, the lyrics seem poignant. They don’t address heavy topics, like depression, but she does admit to feeling unhappy, which can be difficult.
Things go back to business as usual on the intense “Unamerican.” With a hard-hitting vibe and Armstrong’s powerful vocals, this is classic Dead Sara. The roaring riff and Armstrong’s howl grabs your attention as soon as the song kicks off. It’s unapologetic and in your face. It has the raging tone and “don’t-give-a-shit” nature longtime fans crave. Armstrong shouts “I’m not your model citizen/I’m not your daughter/I’m not your bitch/guess I’m un-American.” It’s about being yourself and not living for someone else’s expectations. It’s an anthem for those who are weird and wonderful. She even gives a big fuck you to Trump, though she claims it’s nothing political.
Unlike previous releases that sound raw and gritty, this EP is more polished and clean, especially on tracks like “What it Takes” and “One Day We’ll Make It Big.” “What it Takes” isn’t a bad song, but it’s not all that interesting. Similar to the other tracks, the music is light and upbeat, but it’s pretty forgettable. Even the lyrics are pretty bland. Very little about it stands out; the song is just there. It doesn’t stick with you once the EP ends. Things get better on the optimistic on the latter song. Written about the beginnings of the band and reflecting on youth, it shows their softer side. It has an easy going, mellow tone similar to “Something Good.” While it doesn’t hit you like their furious, heavy songs, it’s catchy and has a great vibe to it.
Dead Sara returns to their hard edge sound on the closing track “Heaven’s Got a Back Door.” With a searing Blues inspired riff it has an undeniable groove you have to dance to. Yet, it’s still intense, gruff and has the ferocious vibe of their best work. It’s another boot-stomping anthem about not being sorry for who you are. Armstrong proudly proclaims “I’m through feeling sorry for the things I cannot choose/If I made this far being who I am/Maybe heaven’s got a back door too.” This is a stand out track on the EP and one that’ll please longtime listeners.
Temporary Things Taking Up Space is a welcome return from Dead Sara. Even though they’re now a three-piece they’re still playing hard and fast as they did as a four-piece. Aside from a few songs, the EP is a departure of their raw, hard rock tone. Rather they mess around with their sound taking things in a different, cleaner. You still miss Armstrong’s snarling screams throughout the EP, but her voice is still gritty and powerful. It’s refreshing to hear them move forward, yet not completely abandon their roots. If the EP is a preview of a new album to come (hopefully) then it’s clear Dead Sara have another hit on their hands.
Temporary Things Taking Up Space tracklist:
Times To Remember
What It Takes
One Day We’ll Make It Big
Heaven’s Got a Back Door