A Kick In The Pants # 4 – Dead Mechanical

After listening to this Baltimore-based indie/punk outfit for 3+ years, I’ve finally realized why the band is a trio. Frontman Lucas Carscadden’s voice is the 2nd guitar. I’ve always enjoyed Dead Mechanical’s music on a superficial level – it’s catchy bash and pop like Jawbreaker and Superchunk and other stuff that throws indie rock hooks and punk blasts into a blender. After this “vocals as guitar” revelation though I feel like I understand things on a deeper level, and I guess in some way that leads to a more well-rounded enjoyment of the music. Allow me to elaborate: Carscadden’s voice has an intense, loud quality. Every line is amped up and exhaled like an electric strum, the melody arm wrestles with volume with neither one pushing the other to the table. It’s rough and fuzzy, but still vibrant and full, like a smoker that refuses to be reduced to a hacky rasp by sheer power of will. Another part of the Dead Mechanical dynamic that seems to confirm my point is the songs that drummer Matt Dorsey sings. Excellent in their own right, but with Cascadden’s vox out of the mix they sound treble-heavy and almost a little hollow by comparison.

It all comes together in brilliant fashion on their latest, Addict Rhythms. 12 tracks of alt-punk that bream with experience and sincerity (and geography). Lines drawn from New Jersey’s punk pop, DC’s Dischord output, and Chapel Hill, NC’s 90s scene all intersect here. Punk rock has traditionally carried a message in it’s lyrics, usually about some political or social ill that incite the songwriter in some way. 99% of the time the result is dumbed down diatribes or vague (and yet predictable) chants – slogans that do nothing more than provoke empty sing-alongs. These guys thankfully occupy the other 1%, and this album is marching firmly into my top 5 records of the year. Check out “Film At Forever” for a small taste of all they have to offer, and head on over to Traffic Street for the goods.

Dead Mechanical – Film At Forever

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