Album Review | Calling All Cars – ‘Dancing With a Dead Man’

Review by Billy Geary
Melbourne hard rockers Calling All Cars are undoubtedly one of the harder working bands doing the rounds today. In the past two years since the release of their debut the three-piece have toured relentlessly with the likes of AC/DC, Queens of the Stone Age and The Butterfly Effect as well as a heap of headline shows of their own. Somehow in that time, they’ve managed to record an absolute cracker of a sophomore album, improving their sound in every way possible.

Their 2010 debut Hold, Hold, Fire showed Australia that Calling All Cars have an uncanny knack for writing hook laden, hard hitting rock songs and their follow up is no different. Dancing With a Dead Man sees the band improve their song writing in spades and trading in some of their punkier influences for a more melodic sound – and it’s improved the band’s sound to no end. First single ‘Reptile’ is bound to turn heads with its off kilter rhythms and front man Haydn Ing delivering his most intense vocal performance to date.

What Calling All Cars have done on Dancing With A Dead Man is find the perfect middle ground between their harder hitting moments and their poppier moments, something that wasn’t done anywhere near as consistently on their debut. Tracks like ‘Redline’ and ‘No Sleep’ are perfect examples of this, with the knowing exactly when to hit the accelerator and when to slow things down a little. ‘Throw Me to the Wolves’ is another standout, featuring some excellent drumming from skins man James Ing and a killer chorus to boot.

It’s clear throughout the album that Calling All Cars aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves, with Foo Fighters, Silverchair and Queens of the Stone Age all obviously impacting on the sound of the album. This is particularly true on tracks like ‘Autobiotics’ and ‘She’s Delerious’ which scream Foo Fighters. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it only increases the album’s accessibility. More importantly though, what Calling All Cars lack in originality, they more than make up for in sheer energy and catchiness.

Dancing With a Dead Man is nothing if not a fun, hard-hitting rock album. Calling All Cars have improved every aspect of their sound, creating an outstanding set of hook filled tracks that are bound to stay with you long after listening. Given how hard the three piece works, don’t be surprised if we see a third album pretty quickly. Dancing With a Dead Man is an excellent example of hard rock done right.

Review by Billy Geary

Calling All Cars @ The Tempo, Brisbane with Redcoats, Boy In A Box, The Rockefeller Frequency, Forever The Optimist – 19 August 2011 | Photo Gallery