The electrifying underground rock outfit continue to push boundaries and diversify their soundscape.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A band whose mystique and experimentation have earned themselves a cult following over the past few years, Danny End the Dictators have cemented themselves as one of the most intriguing acts hailing from the underground rock scene. Initially gaining traction off the back of their 2021 psych-rock debut, ‘Relentless’, the pulsating group have continued to impress, with the release of 2022’s ‘The Death of Sovereignty’ providing the swift follow-up fans so desperately desired. Continuing their hot streak of hard-hitting albums, their latest effort, ‘Coincidence Theory’, sees the enigmatic outfit extend beyond their gritty soundscape, as they embrace their diversity and begin to occupy more contemporary territories.

While the band’s eclectic taste and heavy experimentation has resulted in critics having a hard time pinning themselves to any distinct genre, one aspect which remains at the core of their identity is the relentless guitar-work. This is evident right from the exhilarating opening track, ‘Seule’, where the intricate, shredding riff combines with the robust percussion to kickstart the album with the levels of vigour that fans have come to expect. But while the band’s trademark touches carry over into the new record, ‘Coincidence Theory’ is also drawn towards more conventional sounds, resulting in a body of work which combines multiple influences, but ultimately remains both relatable and accessible. ‘Evolve to Dissolve’ provides a great example of this new direction, with its laid-back, spacious mix paving the way for some nostalgic chords and blues-rock grooves which help inject a sense of danceability into the track. In comparison, the energetic ‘Contigo’ feels more inspired by 2000’s UK indie-rock, with its playful piano, catchy chorus, and infectious guitar solo containing all the hallmarks of a smash record.  

Bringing their dynamic approach to the table, it should come as no surprise that the band alternate between differing production styles throughout the record. Whereas the lead vocals dominate melodic tracks such as ‘Contigo’, others such as ‘Désirée’ and the immaculately produced ‘Back Baby’ provide the backdrop for some exquisite bass grooves to shine through the mix. Among the trippy changes in tempo which occur throughout the latter, the band succeed in creating a textured space-rock ambience which resembles the hypnotic psychedelia of something from Kasabian’s debut album. This diverse approach sees the band fluctuate between distorted and spacious mixes, allowing them to adeptly dictate the mood of each track.

Stream ‘Coincidence Theory’ by Danny End the Dictators on Spotify.

Thematically, ‘Coincidence Theory’ repeatedly taps into the notion of constancy, where life’s monotony sees us constantly engage in robotic behaviours. This concept is explored through the visceral guitar solo of ‘Take a Swing’, whose grimy lick ties into the despairing feel of the track, through which the lyrics, “we’re all machines, run half the time on dreams” reinforce this feeling. Containing several shades of nihilism, this outlook produces passages of darker undertones throughout the album, such as the six-minute epic, ‘Flagellate the Sky’, which is described by the band as “rock and roll, made in a hole”. As well as being one of the heaviest tracks on the album, it also features some of the harshest vocals and most relentless drumming, culminating in an ominous atmosphere, whose darkened mix is made to feel extremely claustrophobic. While this nihilism is regularly transcended through the band’s impactful instrumentation, it is also delivered through melancholic lyrics, such as the “we all live to die” line on ‘Drained’.

But while a portion of the album is consumed by desolation, the remainder is formulated on the ideas of infatuation and dependency. While the topic is introduced as early as ‘Back Baby’, it is experienced most prominently on the album’s stand-out hit, ‘Contigo’. A witty, pop-rock song enhanced by the innocent whistling, the band’s ironic exploration into fixation sees the singer insist this is “not an obsession”, despite the entirety of the verses revolving around “you”. While this theme is addressed in a more playful manner across this track, these emotions are intensified on ‘Désirée’, where the overwhelming infatuation results in “jealousy blinding my soul”. But as a whole, this theme offers a glowing contrast to the album’s darker passages, and even closes the album on a upbeat note with ‘All I Know’, a spritely track whose mellow guitar work emanates a sense of hope.

By expanding on the sombre mystique of their previous work, the release of ‘Coincidence Theory’ sees Danny End the Dictators explore a new, poetic avenue, helping diversify what was already an incredible range of songwriting. Oscillating between hope and despair, the enigmatic band have delivered a varied production style, which ranges from distorted bleakness to psychedelic flamboyance. All achieved with electrifying guitar-work at its core, the group’s latest album solidifies themselves as one of underground rock’s hottest properties.

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