Dead to Me - Cuban Ballerina (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dead to Me

Cuban Ballerina (2006)

Fat Wreck Chords

Cuban Ballerina jumps out at you with the politically charged "Don't Lie" and doesn't let up until the closing yelps of "Visiting Day," grabbing ahold of you with tales of love, loss and redemption. It's hard to overstate how honest this album feels, from its lyrics to its perfectly suited, but not perfectly glossy, production.

Much of the press, including our own here at, has revolved around the very obvious inclusion of Jack Darlymple's voice and guitar in Dead to Me's sound. While Jack obviously plays an integral role in this band, the beauty in the album lies in Chicken's raw, introspective words. Songs like "Something New," "Cause of My Anger," and "Visiting Day" are an intimate look into the inner workings of a young man rebuilding and recovering from the demons of drug abuse.

However, any band or album is only as good as its weakest link, so this quartet is lucky that each of them is quite competent at their instruments. More importantly than this is the fact that the band plays together and writes music that you expect from a second or third release on their debut album. It's a tight sound, rooted in classic punk rock with tight drumming and buzzsaw guitars that seem all but absent in today's punk scene. There are the obvious comparisons to One Man Army to be drawn, as already discussed, and thankfully that's a good thing. OMA is a band that seemed to implode just as they hit their stride and it appears that Brandon and Jack's two-guitar punch has remained intact with their newfound bandmates.

Don't let their silly haircuts fool you, Dead to Me is a band with a grit and honesty that is sorely lacking in punk music at the moment. Thankfully, that "special something" seems to be on tap somewhere in the Mission District of San Francisco and it appears that it's one vice that Chicken has not given up.

Of course, you don't have to take my word for it, as you can stream the whole album here at