When you think of the term “polaroid” it conjures up visions of pictures created with cameras that used instant film (though they existed earlier, they became more popular in the early 70’s with the Polaroid Corporation’s release of Integral Film). A snapshot in time – a memory forever captured with a simple photo. It is something that has always enchanted me – what was the person thinking when the photo was taken? Did they know the twists and turns that their life would take? One of the minor mysteries of life. The Dead Good (Sonny Lanegan / Isabella Knight) have just released their debut EP Thirteen Polaroids. Like the mysterious polaroids of yesteryear, it provides a vivid tapestry of imagery that is compelling.
In 2012 the world was treated to two stunning releases from Sonny Lanegan – the instrumental film soundtrack type album No Answers and his full band onslaught with White Pulp, Vulgarity is Not a Felony. Each album showcased a different side of Lanegan’s skills as a composer – solo, his work recalled classical music married to modern electronics. White Pulp showcased a heavy Nine Inch Nails / industrial influence and spun it into something wholly original. With The Dead Good, Sonny has collaborated with Isabella Knight to come up with a completely different sound compared to his earlier projects. The dual female / male vocals in tandem with music that is melodic and delivered with a punk rock attitude makes this soar above the sea of mediocrity.
I’m yours right now (album highlights)
Junk Nation fades in with blips of electronic noise before metallic guitar takes over the speakers. Isabella’s Knight voice enters the mix 1st with a punk rock delivery with hints of soul “You’ve gotta give it up…”. The tune is anchored by the incessant guitar riff that is both heavy & melodic. A perfect opening track for the record.
Room 106 opens up with a heavy electronic beat but takes a left turn a few seconds later when a guitar riff indebted to power pop enters the mix. Vocals are by Sonny & Isabella, sometimes at the same time. A feel good hit of the summer (geeky Queens of the Stone Age reference, sorry). This one should be a modern rock hit for the duo.
I Put a Spell On You – yep this is a cover of the classic by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Bluesy guitar joins Isabella Knight as she screams, wails, and croons her way around the ancient words. Her urgency as she screams “Because I’m yours” is offset by Sonny Lanegan’s reassuring vocals in response. One of the best covers of this tune I’ve ever heard.
Those are just a few highlights – the entire EP is incredible. It serves as an introductory offering from The Dead Good, but it also serves as a perfect encapsulation of what the band is capable of. Isabella Knight’s contributions to the words & music in tandem with Sonny Lanegan’s skill for creating memorable compositions make this EP a must have. You can get the EP via the band’s Bandcamp site – it is a “pay what you want” model. You can also follow the duo via their Facebook page. Make sure to check back in a week or so to check out my interview with Sonny Lanegan.
For Fans of: White Pulp, Portishead, Heavens to Betsy, Cults, Faith No More
- Junk Nation
- Saws, Drills and Glue Guns
- Room 106
- I Put a Spell On You
- Through My Bones