In a musical landscape predominantly led by performers who have songs written for them, who sing about being “up all night to get lucky,” and who focus more on having sex appeal than having emotion, there is a noticeable lack of passion, especially the sort of blood-sweat-and-tears passion of Great Dane’s Beautiful Love.
The five-song EP, while not exactly a concept album, centers itself on a mantra repeated in several iterations throughout the songs: “This world is smothering me.”
Emotionally enervated and harried by the everyday struggles of life, the four guys in Great Dane (Brad Kennedy, Danny Lovell, Sam Souders, and Dakota Carlyle) write fervidly. These songs are raw; rabid: “All this hate/ Taking up space/ Forever hiding/ Out of place.”
A large part of the album’s effectiveness lies in the vehemence and fire-spitting power of the vocals. Unrelenting screams and rhythmic guttural roars link the songs together, and are perfectly matched by flawless time signature changes, double bass, and heavy chugging guitar chords.
This is not a singer who refuses to drink milk before a show in fear of creating phlegm. By which I mean this is not a singer who gives a fuck about the health of his voice. He screams and shrieks and howls his way through the album without a single deviation in intensity. The lyrics are at times unintelligible and, yes, the album is intense. Listening all the way through can become difficult on a pair of headphones in a little apartment. I wish I could’ve seen the band live while writing this review. They are, undoubtedly, amazing.
The songs are not hugely different from each other; the lyrical themes are similar, the instrumentation is the same, and the vocals are delivered comparably in every song. I’m not saying this as a bad thing; I just thought it’d be worth mentioning.
Ultimately the best part of this album for me was its unabashed hunger, moreover, its primal yearning. Yearning for a better life, a less devastating case of self-esteem issues, and a more beautiful love.
Or maybe that’s the most beautiful kind of love there is; the warty and yelly and sweaty-in-a-rock-club love. Great Dane aren’t pretty. The music has no ornamentation or focus on melody. It is not McCartney. But god damn there is a gorgeous ache in this album, and the strength of that urge alone is enough to make me relisten to it over and over.
2. Beautiful Love
5. Undiscerning/Blind Me