The Dangerous Summer

Mother Nature

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The Dangerous Summer's fifth studio album, 2019's Mother Nature, begins with a phone message in which a woman says she's calling the recipient just in case they "need a sounding board, somebody to vent to, somebody to yell at, somebody to tell you that everything is gonna be okay." The message sets a tone of recovery on Mother Nature, which is the band's second album after a five-year hiatus. During that time the group broke up due in large part to turmoil with former bandmate Cody Payne (who was sentenced to a year in prison for felony burglary in 2017). The quartet eventually reunited as a trio for 2018's ruminative self-titled album, buoyed by their hard-won maturity and rejuvenated sense of purpose. All of this informs Mother Nature, which is more muscular and electrified than its predecessor. If The Dangerous Summer was the group's soft comeback, then Mother Nature is the real emo-rock return-to-form. The album towers over you like a slow-motion tidal wave, swelling ever higher. Cuts like "Blind Ambition" and "Violent Red" are emotive anthems that threaten to drown you in the sonic undertow before lifting you up on the crest of the wave, giving you a widescreen view of the emotions on display. However, it's "Way Down," with its roiling, low-end guitar arpeggios, buzzy death grip bass, and lacerated sandpaper vocals that seems to capture the band's head-long dive into (and struggle out of) the depths. A.J. Perdomo sings "Cuz when I fall, I wanna fall way down, and when I drown, I wanna drown to death." But while that feeling of drowning and then coming back to the surface permeates much of Mother Nature, it never seems overly dark or depressing. As the opening phone message seems to imply, the Dangerous Summer know how to cope and seek help when they need it. On "Blind Ambition," Perdomo sings "Can you calm me down yet?/Can you pull me back to the dirt I came out of? It's what's in my heart again."

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