Dead To Me - I Wanna Die In Los Angeles [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead To Me

I Wanna Die In Los Angeles [7-inch] (2016)

Fat Wreck Chords

Like I said in my recent show review – Dead To Me is back – better, stronger and in full force! The same goes for their first release with Jack Dalrymple back the band since 2008’s Little Brother titled I Wanna Die In Los Angeles. This is what fans of Dead To Me have been hoping that the band would sound since announcing Jack’s return and the announcement of their upcoming full-length American Son of Cholo. But when it comes to the three tracks on I Wanna Die In Los Angeles, incredibly it is like Jack never left the band in the first place. The chemistry between the four band members is as tight as ever. The chemistry between Chicken and Jack’s vocals is the same, if not better in some cases than what you hear on 2006’s Cuban Ballerina.

The title track is classic Dead To Me, but with an updated edge. It immediately starts with an strikingly catchy guitar hook, which is quickly followed by a super fast drum build up. Then Chicken’s signature angry, yelling vocals burst into the first verse. Jack’s more melodic vocals are a perfect contrast when he takes the lead during the chorus. Not a lot of bands can do these vocal switches that well, but what you hear in their early releases and now this EP, it should be clear that Dead To Me are masters at this technique. They then sort mix their vocals together towards the middle of the song where Jack sings these light “ooh’s” over Chicken’s and it works phenomenally well.

Now while “I Wanna Die In Los Angeles” is much more of an aggressive DTM song, “Tune It Out” is a bit on the softer side. Dead To Me are no strangers to writing mellower songs. For those of you that have listened songs like “Little Brother” and “Ran That Scam” you know that their softer songs are just as great as their hard-hitting anthems like “By The Throat,” “Special Professional,” “Splendid Isolation” and many others. Chicken takes on leads vocals for “Tune It Out” and you can hear Jack’s soft “ooh’s” over him here as well. The lead guitar loosely follow’s Chicken’s vocal melodies and it builds up and gets louder, which is when Jack takes over for a big outro.

Like “Tune It Out,” “Comforting The Disturbed and Disturbing The Comfortable” falls more under DTM’s mellower side of their catalogue. This time it is Jack who takes lead vocals on the first half of the song and then interestingly Chicken sings a lot more melodically than usual in the second half. He isn’t yelling. It is full on singing, which is something you don’t hear very often from him and I have to admit this new form of his works well. What is also interesting about this song is that the lead guitar riff almost sounds like it is a mixture of what toyGuitar might put in one of their songs and the overall sound that is in Little Brother. Lyrically it is one their more personal songs. Lines like, “Ahh! Danger! It’s so exciting and damn if it ain’t fun though/ That is until there’s a payphone at the psych ward that knows me by my first name now” are clearly allusions to Chicken’s time spent getting clean these passed few years. In fact a good amount of the subject matter in all three of these tracks touch upon his experiences with that.

I Wanna Die In Los Angeles is just a taste of what I have a good feeling Dead To Me will bring us in their future – unique and amazing punk rock. Clearly, they have picked up where they left off when Jack was originally was in the band. They still can bust out killer melodic punk tunes as well as their softer material equally well. Long time fans will be overjoyed to hear Jack and Chicken side by side again along with Ken and Ian as well. I know this because I myself am one of those fans. We’re so glad that you're back!