In April of 2022 Tāmaki Makaurau punk rockers Dead Beat Boys proclaimed that the band were ‘dead’.
However, their ‘posthumously’ delivered, and long-promised album, filled with riffs that resonate and lyrics that smartly self-deprecate, proves that legends never die. Recorded and produced by bassist Miro Gibson, the fittingly self-titled ‘Dead Beat Boys’ is a perfect snapshot of a treasured era, for both the band and for the local music scene.
Ahead of their final show Dead Beat Boys had been gracing local stages for the past decade, along the way providing us with some memorable singles such as 2 and Bland. It’s in their final act that they show us who they are (were) and what they are made of. This 12-track album showcases a band who have found their sound and who, above all, love playing music together.
Opening track I Want It reflects this by opening with light banter between band members, a trend that is scattered cleverly throughout the album. Listeners get the impression they are sitting in on practice time, serving to make the journey through the track list a much more intimate experience.I Want It launches head-first into a classic Dead Beat Boys’ pile-driver riff, capturing guitarist John McCall’s love of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. Combined with singer James Fitz’s perfectly crafted chorus hook and fearless vocal delivery makes the song a certified pop-punk banger.
The band continue to deliver throughout the album, with tracks like Forget It and Shit Day being particularly memorable. As a front person, Fitz’s strength is knowing how to capture and command a crowd, and Gibson has managed to produce tracks that really drive this home.
It’s on Die In Hell that the band shine brightest. This song has been turned on its head to become an unexpected ska piece that climaxes into a blues-based rock n’ roll gem. With the rhythm section of Miro Gibson and drummer Shaun Zeedijk in the driver’s seat, it allows each member to showcase. To top it all off, the hook is emphasised with catchy gang vocals and stellar vocal performance.
It’s always hard to say goodbye to things that have brought us so much, but Dead Beat Boys’ curtain call is a happy ending. This album is a high-intensity, triumphant love letter to their journey together.