So many bands have release their first albums to nothing but fanfare only to dissapoint with their sophmore release. I was certain Denali would not fit that mold and release another gem. Unfortunately, they proved me wrong.
First things first, this is not a bad record by any means. It’s just incredibly average. The record starts off very solid. Opener, "Hold Your Breath," is a great song. Much darker than any of their previous material, Denali proves they can rock out. Well as much as you can imagine a band such as Denali rocking out. The album’s second song, "Surface," keeps it rolling with good use of drum machines, Cam noodling some intricate delay filled guitar licks and a drum beat that is incredibly tight. The chorus falls apart in a rather awkward way but the transition out is good.
The rest of the first half of the record is rather good and keeps you interested. "Run Through," albeit fairly formulaic, doesn’t dissapoint. What baffles me is how much they use drum programming when they have the drummer they do. "The Instinct" holds itself afloat until that "chorus falling apart" bug hits them again.
The scond half of the record starts off with "Do Something." Although dark, as most of this record is, it tends to drone on a little too much. "Real Heat" starts off with a fairly fresh approach but ends up going right back into the "Denali sound" they are have developed and nearly beat into the ground already. Keeley’s bass line showcases his talents by being one of the foremost things you hear throughout and making this song worth listening to from time to time.
The rest of the record closes itself out in typical Denali fashion. "Nullaby" is your slow and intimate Maura moment. "Normal Days" has an almost Castlevania type feel which is fresh but feels out of place. If they could write more stuff like this, I’d be very pleased.
All in all, if you like Denali, it won’t hurt to check this out. They still put on a great live show and Maura isn’t anything bad to look at herself.