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Articles Home » Music Reviews » Dead Poet Society '-!-' Album Review By JD Rich
Dead Poet Society '-!-' Album Review By JD Rich

Dead Poet Society


Spinefarm Records

February 12, 2021

Album Review By JD Rich

Boston Rock Radio


There seems to be a shift, however slight, in the musical landscape. Apparently, Dead Poet Society is a contributing factor, much to the delight of us who are bored with the same-old, same-old stuff a lot of musicians hastily crank out in an effort to get as many immediate streams/downloads. The lengthy debut by this four-piece band, -!- (or The Exclamation Album in the spoken word), is a labor of love and determination, well thought out and bubbling with hot new Rock. Even a couple of surprises lie in wait, playfully set to confuse the listener. Guilty as charged, your honor. You see, not all tracks are music. Yeah, they got me. Tracks 1, 8, and 13 are conversation excerpts. For the record, I could not disagree more with the chick on the phone in “-gopi-“ (Track 13). She would not make it as an album reviewer. I have spoken.​

-!- is an ever-evolving compilation that covers many Rock subgenres. One reliable constant is Jack Underkofler’s upper-end vocals that sound similar to a combination of singers, the most prominent being Matt Bellamy of Muse. Also, one could pick up characteristics of Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother, and to a lesser extent Jack White (although Underkofler is far more adept at staying in key). The EP is a potpourri of styles and compositions. A few tracks tease at Techno-Trance, but with more Rock bite, as found in “.futureofwar.” an instrumental which gives guitarist Jack Collins and drummer Will Goodroad a whole track to shine brightly. Then further in, “.SALT.” really lets us slip into the groove. To keep it fresh, Dead Poet Society also flirts with what I like to call Bayou Rock. Take a listen to “.getawayfortheweekend.” and you’ll see why. Not exactly fitting under the description of Southern Rock, it has more Blues-Rock without the twang. “.CoDA” kicks it up a couple notches into full bump-and-grind, but picture it being at a fish-fry on a sweaty hot summer day. To fully grasp what I’m describing, check out the official video on YouTube.

​ -!- offers more variations of the band’s interpretations and contributions of contemporary Rock. There’s bound to be something that appeals to even the pickiest of Rock fans. If not, then you are a soulless monster and should turn in your membership card now. Dead Poet Society went out on a limb to perform a stripped-down song, something that many newer bands shy away from,​ until they’ve got the experience and soul to do so. Dead Poet Society pulled it off breathtakingly on the last track of -!-, “.haunted.” Once or twice, angelic vocals hit an octave almost too high for human ears to detect, The distortion pedal and other high-tech enhancements are put aside in favor of a beautiful acoustic accompaniment. I’m guessing that is when Goodroad and bassist Dylan Brenner took a quick nap after expending so much energy throughout the rest of the EP!​

-!- takes us on an audio ride that doesn’t come around as often as it should. Nu Rock, Alt-Rock, Bayou Rock, Hypno-Rock, or just straightforward Rock, the variety is astounding. Plus, Dead Poet Society mixes it up, ensuring the entire EP sounds like the same song bleeding over into the next track. I’m especially impressed by the amount of well-planned arrangements and high-quality production values coming from such a brand new band on their debut album. Dead Poet Society has committed to their art form and put out a product that indicates they intend to be in it for the long haul. They did not come to screw around. Check out all the goods when -!- drops February 12th, better than getting a box of chocolates or flowers for Valentine’s Day, that’s for damn sure!




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