DEAD CELLS out of Vancouver do it dark, desperate, and minimal. An archaic sound from the gothic ages of punk – when punk was catchy, but also dangerous. Going back to the three chord song, with downstrokes, vicious energy, and the two minute deadline. Sacred by the outstanind artwork, it’s night church in the post apocalyptic wasteland. Their first LP and follow-up to their 2018 demo tape which was overheared by many people. Desperation, angst and frustration pepper the words that twist and turn like daggers to the back of emperors. Twin guitar attacks carry melody and smart chord changes backed by a rhythm section that runs the risk of falling off the edge of the cliff. It’s complimented by a brooding vocalist that half shouts-half sings. You are welcome to dismiss this as some more of that melodic punk that you are too cool to admit that you like, but you would be a fool. Yes, the songs are catchy, and yes DEAD CELLS will get stuck in your head and even sometimes put a spring in your step, but this shit is deep and these songs are as close to utter brilliance as I can ever remember hearing. This goes way, way beyond the “punk kids playing post punk” thing going around these days. The tone of the songs, and of the album as a whole, is just as important as the content of the songs themselves. The guitar is somehow bright and dark at the same time. Chorus and reverb effects give it a shimmer, but distortion and minor and diminished chords dull that shimmer enough to keep everything nice and dark. It’s like a beefed up version of an 80’s post-punk bands’ sound. The drums are tight throughout and the bass is dark and punchy as well. All of this is behind spooky male lead vocals. Dark, anxious, paranoid, manic, obsessive, melodic, misanthropic, gothy, punk – Don’t sleep on this.