Dead Leaves’ gorgeous new record, Vultures, is one that has compelled me to write in a way that hasn’t happened in awhile. The first half of the year had so many strong releases that it’s been hard to find inspiration lately, but now I can’t stop talking about how incredible these ten songs are.
In the first few seconds of the opening track, “Death and Taxes,” when we’re exposed to Elliott Blair’s vocals, it becomes immediately clear how special the album is going to be. The band’s matured sound and lyrics show just how much time was spent crafting each of these songs. In fact, these ten were picked out of a batch of approximately 50 tracks that were written for this album over the course of a year. This was especially astounding to me because it’s rare to hear that a growing band took that much time with an album as opposed to just putting anything they come up with out into the world. The extra time taken with Vultures makes it all the more memorable as every note bears meaning.
Fans of The Hotelier would likely love this record. It grows and fades at all the right times, and Blair’s warm voice brings a familiar sense of comfort to Dead Leaves’ overall sound. They’ve managed to embody everything that has drawn my interest towards indie/emo bands this year. Their mesmerizing guitar work, energy and well-thought-out artistic approach to songwriting make Vultures a stand out record. This 30 minute full-length truly does feel full. It’s paced beautifully while still leaving me ready to listen again as soon as it ends.
Blair’s voice guides listeners through the album, and shines especially bright in songs like “Sunrise” and “Bloodshot.” The instrumentals are seemingly shaped around his vocals in a way that helps to make these songs sound as massive as they do. Lines like, ‘You should wait for your head to stop spinning before you start making life changing decisions,’ from “Die Young,” are sure to be fun to yell along with at the band’s shows. They’ve made even their most elegant lyrics ones that will so easily get stuck in your head.
To put it quite simply, Vultures is an incredibly solid record. It feels like a pivotal push in the right direction for Dead Leaves, and the beginning of something tremendous.