Album review: THE PASS OUTS – Dead Technology

The Pass Outs - Dead Technology

Self release [Release date 06.06.14]

The Pass Outs hail from Mebourne in Australia, where they have built up a following strong enough to sell out a 250 capacity venue on the launch of their debut album ‘Dead Technology’.

A loosely based concept album – which doesn’t appear to stretch much beyond Chris Wahl’s sci-fi cartoon style art work and an aggregation of David Sirianni penned relationship songs – they are a band in search of an identity.

The Pass Outs have the energy and drive to kick out the jams and it’s their sheer will to make things happen that carries them past some stodgy material and on to a potentially different level.

‘Dead Technology’ veers from the REM influenced ‘Start A Fire’ and the ballad ‘Your Side’ – on which Sirianni excels – to the punchy rock and booming chorus of the single ‘Show Me What It’s Like’ and the riff led grungy thunder of ‘Take It From Me’. Somewhere in between there’s a band that remains a work in progress who are looking for their own sound.

Their best moments come on ‘Star A Fire’, which builds impressively towards a defining wah-wah break, while the stop-time ‘Goon’ is arguably their strongest song. The first person narrator shifts from being reactive – “This will be the last time I see the bottom of the bottle”, to becoming pro-active: “This will be the first time you see me as I am.”

‘Glorified Caveman’ on the other hand, is simply too one dimensional, both lyrically and musically, while ‘Fragile Life’ leans too heavily on The Edge style chiming guitar motif and struggles to offer more than mere bluster.

Happily, there is a counterbalance offered by a brace of surprisingly gentler songs, of which the melodic and well crafted ‘Float Away’ is best. It’s given extra depth by guest guitarist Brett Woods’s beautifully constructed solo, suggesting that a little experience goes a long way.  ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

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