Album Review: The Dead Bolts – Pretty and Burnt Out

While The Dead Bolts may hail from Chicago, upon listening to their latest album Pretty and Burnt Out, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking you had discovered a great new southern rock band. The group knocks out salty blues guitar riffs, shuffling R&B rhythms and brazen attitude with a complete ease, and the vocals are delivered with a twangy drawl that could be mistaken for the Kings of Leon.

Tracks like “Keep it Moving”, with its country lilt and lyrics like “This sitting pretty shit ain’t good for the heart” would feel right at home in an Alabama biker bar, followed by the Stones-influenced “Money in Your Hand”, which would have the whole bar rocking as it builds to its rave-up conclusion. The night would end with the gutter waltz “Tired” and “Say It”, which would give any drunken guys the encourage to ask for the number of the girl they’ve been eyeing the whole night (“You’ve got something on your mind, then say it.”)

But there is far more to this band than Skynyrd and Stones worship. The opener “Awhile” shimmies with power pop guitars and energized drums that crescendo towards the lover’s high the song honors (“You drive me crazy. You drive me wild”). “Got it Bad” is a beautifully filthy garage rocker, while “Sun Comes Back Around” strolls out of the garage into acoustic sunny nostalgia.

The album highlight is “What Gives”, which finds the perfect blend of 90’s alternative and modern southern rock, while also moving in new emotional directions. As the song’s narrative finds themselves “Lying in bed. Feeling like death”, the song addresses a bleak battle with depression that makes the narrator feel trapped (“I don’t want to live in a world you can’t escape from”). It’s a powerful sign that The Dead Bolts have more in their arsenal than drinking songs and “good time” love bangers (though they do the latter especially well on the 60’s sounding “Some Are (Summer) Lovin'”).

Get your rock on and listen to Pretty and Burnt Out.

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