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Album Reviews : Dead Letter Circus – The Endless Mile

By on May 15, 2017

Releasing an album of stripped back, ‘unplugged’ versions of your own pre-existing tunes can be a bit of a slippery slope, and previous efforts from other bands have been a little hit and miss. But Brissie’s favourite progressive rock sons Dead Letter Circus have already had a test-run on doing this type of thing, with 2014’s Stand Apart EP, which made a pretty damn good fist of it. This time, with that behind them, they also put a little extra time and effort into getting it just so, and they have nailed it. To the wall.

The Endless Mile is a ten-year tribute to their all-time classic debut self-titled EP, so that particular release is completely represented on this album, plus they have re-worked and re-imagined five of their other fabulous tunes from subsequent releases. And the end result is a ridiculously enjoyable 11 track ride through the familiar, done in very unfamiliar ways. In fact, it’s actually 12 tracks, as there is (spoiler alert!) a ghost track that shows up just after the official closer, a beautiful piano-driver version of One Step. Wait just over a minute and you’ll hear arguably the best track from 2015’s Aesthesis album, The Lie we Live, which becomes one of the best tracks on this release.

Another highlight is a reggae’d-up version of Are We Closer, which is almost unrecognisable until Kim Benzie’s sweet vocals kick in, and shows the true versatility of this band.

Elsewhere, the usually epic Alien from the first EP has two and a half minutes shaved off it, and becomes a haunting, string-enhanced thing of acoustic beauty. The magnificent Here We Divide, normally a freight-train of pounding forward momentum, finds the sweestest ambience you can possibly imagine. And While You Wait, arguably the poppiest, bounciest track they’ve ever done in its original form, is a dark, melancholy masterpiece.

These guys have really gone out on a limb here, taken a massive chance and turned these great songs completely on their heads, and virtually everything, every song, every moment, works a treat. And that is the mark of a great band.

Band: Dead Letter Circus
Album: The Endless Mile
Year: 2017
Genre: Progessive rock
Label: Ten to Two Records
Origin: Australia

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.