The Dead Formats “At Sixes & Sevens”
The Dead Formats first came to our attention having seen them at 2000 Trees festival (see our review here https://thesoulofaclown.com/2014/07/19/2000-trees-festival-2014/). It was one of those great festival moments where you accidentally stumble across a band who then proceed to blow you away with their set. They not only have a cool look and an unusual set up with two vocalists but also put on a real crowd pleasing show. This was not only due to their enthusiasm and energy but also the quality of their songs. We therefore had to check out their album especially when we learnt the band describe themselves as a band with “a punk attitude and a desire to never be pinned to a single genre, The Dead Formats are an Essex sextet who believe in pushing boundaries both musically and socially”.
It has to be said that opening track “Just What The Dr Ordered” has a very similar sound to “Can’t Stand Me Now” by The Libertines. To be fair, it’s an equally as good ramshackle rock n roll number with a brilliant chorus. Speaking of similarities, “Losing Track of Numbers (Counting My Regrets)” is like the song The Hives have been trying to recreate since their great debut. It has the same stop/start sound and is utterly brilliant. “Freaks” has a similar style and is a good demonstration of how effective the twin vocals approach works. It allows the song to contain different tones to the verses and then a real gang feel to the chorus.
One of the elements that make The Dead Formats so different to other rock n roll bands is that sense of an appreciation of soul. This is evident on both “The Bag I’m In” and “Heart Before My Head”. These songs have a soulful tone and vibe that other rock n roll bands just struggle to achieve.
They are still able to rock out with the best of them though as shown by “Gimme A Clue”. They also really show their Clash influences on “Condemnation” and “Dancing All Through” which whilst still being rock n roll songs both have a reggae/ska beat to them. Although the second of these, which is also the album closer, also has an indie feel which suggests the band have the capacity to cross the huge rock/indie void.
This really is a fantastic album by a band we already know are excellent live so that’s a real bonus. The only question is therefore why they haven’t got more exposure already. Every now and then the UK is able to produce a brilliant rock n roll band like say The Yo-Yo’s or The Loyalties who just don’t get the recognition they deserve. This record shares the same traits of taking all that is good from punk, rock n roll, indie and rockabilly to create a brilliant sound. We really need to make sure that The Dead Formats don’t suffer from being a secret, cult classic like those bands. So you need to make sure you buy this, go and see them live and then hope and pray that they deliver another great album like this very soon.