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ATP! Album Review: The Dangerous Summer - Golden Record

When NASA and President Jimmy Carter blasted the Voyager crafts up to space in 1977, they were accompanied by some golden albums that contained a record of life on Earth, sent to an unknown, possibly nonexistent receiver. It didn’t matter that no one might ever get to hear the Golden Records. What mattered was that we documented our time to last long after we’re all six feet under.

It’s an incredibly humanistic quality to act in self-preservation, simultaneously acknowledging our morality while desperately trying to remain infinite, however futile that is. Such an epic symbol to inspire The Dangerous Summer’s latest can’t be taken lightly; it begs the question: is this the band’s own send-off? If Golden Record represents The Dangerous Summer, the band’s own effigy to the world, then why bother writing another album?

The symbolism of chosen album art can’t be ignored, either: flares and fireworks, spontaneous light combustions that phase out as quickly as they appeared, momentary. But whether or not Golden Record is their last, the band have written songs that certainly are emblematic of who they are.

'Catholic Girls' bursts the album open with a clever soundcheck and singer AJ Perdomo’s unmistakable talent of pulling heartache out of nearly-monotone melodies as he takes a look back at former flames, old homes and faces that never made it to high school graduation.

Such intensity certainly is characteristic of TDS and holds true for much of Golden Record. Darkness falls on the tragic 'Drowning,' whose rim-hits mirror Balance and Composure’s 'Echo.' The band stay loyal to other traits, too: self deprecation on 'I’m So Pathetic,' and bipolarity on 'Knives,' a raging, powerless love song.

This wouldn’t be a TDS album without remarkable percussion; new drummer Ben Cato makes a big name for himself on rhythms like the momentous pickup on 'Honesty' and the sparking cymbals on 'Sins.' Cato clearly refuses to pound merely a backdrop to these songs, and it’s a relief the technicality we heard with ex-drummer Tyler Minsberg lives on.

But along with these Dangerous Summer-isms, we also see a new lightness in much of the record. 'We Will Wait In The Fog' celebrates the comfort in knowing a fight is not a relationship’s end. 'Miles Apart' is a track of absolution, the serenity of finding a soul mate, becoming 'finally happy' and “finally new.” And where we saw the agony of love on 'Knives,' 'Anchor' sees that same inability to live without her – only this time, the weakness is embraced.

It’s a song that bookends Golden Record impeccably. Even an isolated listening to “We did it, we did it” would feel final, so it’s only appropriate an Anchor would finish us off. Wherever there’s an anchor, there is hope; and where there is hope, there is light.

So, is Golden Record The Dangerous Summer’s final bow? Their grand finale of a fireworks show? The hint of an upcoming hiatus after fulfilling their Hopeless quota? Probably (hopefully) not. But just in case, at least we have this record of a band full of dark and lovely pain, both shimmering and gold.

Whether or not those flares intend to signify an upcoming end, their symbolism offers an inalienable truth: light can come in fierce for a moment, only to burn to black in the next, unavoidably finite. But like those Voyager Golden Records still trekking towards the heliosphere (yes, they’re still going), brightness may leave us, but it carries on, traveling for light-years through space. Whether it hits another eye is irrelevant; all that matters is that it keeps going, somewhere.


Carolyn Vallejo

Golden Record will be released on August 6th via Hopeless Records.

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