After starting out as a high-school band, Maryland's the Dangerous Summer have spent a few years growing up on record. Their first EP, 2007's If You Could Only Keep Me Alive, had a boyish charm and light, poppy approach that put them on the sunny side of the emo-pop street. Each release since has grown darker, both lyrically and musically, to the point where their third album, 2013's Golden Record, sounds like the work of jaded, world-weary emo lifers. The guitars are heavily layered, the drums have a thunderous power, and the tempos are stuck in neutral, with each song stacking up the gloom until you feel like you're drowning in desperate melancholy. Vocalist A.J. Perdomo sounds the most desperate of all, shredding his vocal cords as he screams out the words. It sounds like he's one breath from dying on most of the album, trying to find salvation and some kind of comfort, or at least some love that won't break apart right in front of his eyes. Whether this sounds like a fun listening experience or not probably depends on your life situation, and your tolerance for a record where every song sounds exactly the same, but if you can identify with Perdomo's brand of angst and wondered what it would sound like if U2 and Jimmy Eat World had a musical baby, then Golden Record might be for you. If that particular equation sounds like the worst possible outcome of a musical mating, then steer clear of this bleak and boring album.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra