This Dexters article was written by Max Litchfield, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson
The second full-length release from London four piece Dexters is a compelling and attractive listen from start to finish. ‘We Paid For Blood’ is peppered with some real standout tracks that make it incredibly difficult to not enjoy this album. With Tom Rowlett’s distinctive London drawl on the vocals and Ben Debo’s thundering guitars, Dexters have a distinctive sound and style.
Having said that, there is a different feeling on this album in comparison to their debut ‘Shimmer Gold’, released in 2014. On the debut there was a boisterous, fresh sound whereas the follow up, although still boisterous, sees Dexters pursue a darker more brooding tone on this release. ‘We Paid For Blood’ works expertly by marrying the shimmering effects of their guitar pedals with booming sounds of the drums and vocals. This creates some real anthemic tracks, such as the first single released from this album ‘Stay Strange’ and the more atmospheric ‘Heaven’.
If you were looking for real evidence of Dexters’ descent into the more darker realms of songwriting, you can look no further than track four- ‘Suburban Sex Dungeon’. The lyrical content of this track requires no explanation; with Rowlett discussing the “secrets of suburbia” and the idea that we really do not know what goes on behind closed doors. The song builds with a quickening riff and heavy use of cymbals before the chorus ends with the screaming of “down in the dungeon!” as the guitars shred in a heart racing crescendo. The maniacal pace and style of this track is exhilarating and will no doubt cause chaos during live performances.
The darkness continues in ‘Your Lovely Wife’ with chugging a Spanish style acoustic guitar in the background as a story of domestic violence unfolds. The track reveals the eventual retaliation of this beaten wife; poisoning her abuser with cyanide. It is clear that Dexters are not afraid to address the darker issues of today within their work but it is not to their detriment as this song, like all the other tracks with darker lyrical content, this one works well within the confines of ‘We Paid for Blood’.
As the album develops there is room for slower songs to have a place alongside Dexters’ trademark fast paced style. ‘Her Disappearing Act’ is a slower, more touching and thoughtful track. But still, it retains a dark and melancholy tone and therefore contributes to the success of this album.
Closing tracks ‘Braggarts Regatta’ and ‘You Deserve the World’ showcase this albums’ and importantly, Dexters’ precision and skill in songwriting and delivery. ‘We Paid for Blood’ is easily one of the finest indie rock releases of 2015.
‘We Paid for Blood’ is out now via Acid Jazz Records