I have been sitting on this album for a while. By “sitting on” I mean that I have been listening to it on repeat, enjoying the hell out of it, forgetting that I had to review it, until it came to the end. From the first moments of State Line to State Line, I felt like there was something familiar about this album, not so much a sound, but a feeling. It was a feeling as though, I had known this all my life.Already Dead has an Americana sound for a new generation. It melds rock and roll and punk with the sound and feel of American small towns. You can tap your foot to the beat, but it still has gruff edges, and feels intimate. A restlessness and rawness permeates the whole album.There is also some vulnerable quality to the vocals, that feeling that you get when you are in a bar listening to the band, and they know that you are the one who is there to listen, they are laying it all out for the ones who care to pay attention.
Each song can be looked at separately as a multimedia poem. Form, sound, inflection, and content all work so perfectly together. Already Dead starts out with State Line to State Line, which is catchy and accessible, but then you listen to those lyrics, and you are just blown away. “Like Hemingway made whores poetic, / Old perceptions of me prophetic of a boy who’d rather flee.” Then later on, ”And the whole world was screaming ‘go’ but you.” Even without music, that ‘you’ hangs so heavy.
The next song, Tail Light, shows that the depth of lyrics was not a fluke, it is a song full of restlessness and hope, the same balance I had in highschool, counting the days until graduation knowing the whole worlds was in front of me, yet scared to take that first step out there. The Bad Parts, is super catchy, I was 100% trying to sing along before I knew the words, “Don’t forget the good parts / the way we do”. Heavy Hangs is a bit 90s alternative sounding than the tracks so far, and encompases the feeling of traveling on the highway and a road-weary-ness, “All these nights I’m feeling restless over places that I’ve been. / I’m putting miles on these tires and hanging with my friends. / ‘Cause every time I come into your town tonight, I’m always wary.”
Spend the Night is desperate and hopeful, it is a beautiful love song as only some can identify, “Sorry I called again, the night just seemed way too long. / I’m done making sense, my drink is gone.” and Maybe I’ll quit fucking up and turn up at your door. / Drive straight through the sunrise./ It’s not too late or too far. /And it seems a lot, but I’ll clean it up if you say so.” This is a plea to make it work, in one way or another, I have been here a million times, and this one cut to the quick for me. (Corner of) Park and Park is a bit more aggressive than the rest of the tracks, but it follows the traveling on the road vs being home theme that we have been seeing in the whole album. The album ends with Sister, a love song to a best friend’s girlfriend who is the stable caretaker that the voice in this whole album was searching for, it plainly is a very beautiful comment on friendship.
Already Dead is an album that you didn’t know you were missing, and when you hear it, it will make you feel as though you had just misplaced it for your entire life. It is so identifiable to every kid that grew up in a small town and ran to get out, but then had to figure out just what to do once they were out. Already Dead should be blasted our car windows at 2am on a summer night as your night is winding down and you don’t want to go home just yet – whether you are 18, 21, 25, or over 30 – we all connect with it in some way.