Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Every now and again a band comes along who have the ability to take a genre that starts to feel a bit stale, and give it a make over, make it feel refreshed and worth indulging into again. The whole pop-punk/punk-rock range can be wildly different but yet, it all coalesses into the same format. The majority of it can sound the same, but The Dead Formats have managed to put their own twist on it with an undeniable britishness and changes in the style from what would normally be heard.
From the 80s themed opener, through to the more reggae feeling Condemnation, the key to this release is both how independent it feels and how raw it sounds. It could be criticized for being too trebly in places and does seem to beg for some bottom end to give it a well rounded shine, but all in all, it’s this raw quality that keeps At Sixes and Sevens ahead of the game. Whilst the opener is quite light hearted with clever little licks sitting just underneath the main instrumentation, Losing Track Of The Numbers is very different in comparison, starting off as a more evolved Seven Nation Army if you will, it’s the drums and powerchord struck guitars that make this a great anthem.
A big silver lining to At Sixes and Sevens is just how much you want to move to it. It employs a lot of jazzy funk, with a punky and indie twist, the result is something that requires movement and is even more engaging. Stand out track Freaks is a testament to gelling instruments together to give the listener one big, kick-ass track. The question and answer guitars that start it all off are followed by a very prominent bass and in your face vocals, but it’s the breakdown that captures imaginations. Changing the style of the song from an indie rock tune into rock ‘n’ roll makes that this feel unique and the piano is certainly an unexpected gift.
Albums like these are precious, they don’t hold any corporate mainstream influences in the sound, instead being fueled by the luxury of being able to call all the shots. The result, At Sixes and Sevens, is a wonderfully fresh take on more than a few genres rolled into one.
4 out of 5