By: Forrest Cook
Contrary to what their name implies, Dead Words is a pretty heckin’ live pop-punk band specializing in Alderaanian love ballads about girls and comic books, alike. They are four of the sweetest young punkers you’ll ever meet, and soon to be “Dad Words” – congratulations to lead singer Garrett Hollowell on his growing new family!
I’ve been into this band for some time. They came up around 2011 playing the DFW circuit, and DIY shows around the country, and have since racked up nearly 1,000 shows on 29 different tours. The latest release, The Geek Shall Inherit, is Dead Word’s third EP amidst a slew of single releases, all of which are available for streaming at https://deadwordstx.bandcamp.com/.
The EP starts off with the title-track. In all its nerd-rocker glory, “The Geek shall Inherit” is a catchy ode to the best of times, late nights and long drives with the best of people “screaming Jackie Chan at the top of our lungs,” and sets the pace well for the rest of this 90’s style Fort Worth pop punk collectanea which I recommend highly for fans of Descendents, Green Day and Me First and The Gimme Gimmes. From intimate beginnings to “no more blank stares…” – spiced beautifully with well-thymed and splendidly-executed backing vocals – “we all fade away.”
Track 2 is a song called “Kingsley”, and touches on some of the band’s true geek-rock-to-the-core tendencies, blending the horn-rimmed stylings of Weezer and Buddy Holly with a beach-pop sound. You might catch the guys talking about backstage sometime – a style which really pronounces itself in the entertainment-media lovers anthem “I Just Wanna Read”. Lyrically, Kingsley touches on the hopes and dreams of a 20-something musician attempting to find the balance between maintaining a proper day job and being a punk rocker in a van on the road. It also speaks for the band’s true DIY ethic. Kudos kiddos!
“I Just Wanna Read” gets personality points out the wazoo, especially extending from the dark and dank-y DIY rooms Dead Words is so accustomed to playing. It’s a song that lets you know exactly who they are and precisely what it is they want to do. (Read… and with attitude!) Who knows? Maybe even toss this little monthly into their repertoire.
Dead Words — Fort Worth TX
It seems all the local bands are saving the best for last these daze, and no different is DW’s The Geek Shall Inherit which ends strong with “City Streets”. The song maintains its pop tenacity and touches on a post-hardcore, early 90’s grunge sound with minor touches and a straightforward, albeit progressive rhythm. It’s an instant classic – a swingin’, post-hardcore, beach-pop oldie, and gives true credence to the band’s “dirty pop” label.
Throughout the album, one finds the tracks laden with the superb lead-stylings of Blake Gunter. His reserved and passionate playing is like a good friend – there to lean on when you’re lonely, and intensifies in the anthemic sections of each song rendering ears compensated for listening with little melodious glam-rock sprinkles that seem to come straight from your best friend’s momma’s kitchen, as it were. Dead Words is pinpoint with this one. Catch them May 4th at MASS for the official EP release.