Review: L.S. Dunes releases debut album Nov. 11, defining unique sound

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L.S. Dunes

The debut album “Past Lives” by L.S. Dunes came out Nov. 11. The band is made up of members from popular emo rock and post-hardcore bands such as Circa Survive and Saosin’s Anthony Green and My Chemical Romance’s Frank Iero. “I really enjoyed this album overall,” reviewer and senior Kalyani Rao said. “I really like Frank Iero’s solo work, so I tuned in immediately when I heard about L.S. Dunes. The sound of this album isn’t exactly reminiscent of his albums, but it’s incredibly good.”

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L.S. Dunes may be a newly formed band, but its members are long-established in the emo and post-hardcore scene. All are members of influential emo rock or post-hardcore bands, including guitarist Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance, Thursday‘s bassist Tim Payne and drummer Tucker Rule, lead singer Anthony Green from Circa Survive and Saosin, Coheed and Cambria guitarist Travis Stever. L.S. Dunes is a “supergroup” of different musicians who grew close while touring, and they released their debut album on Nov. 11. They currently have close to 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

I’m a big fan of Iero’s solo work, so I tuned into L.S. Dunes immediately. Although Iero is still touring with My Chemical Romance currently, he plans to attend L.S. Dunes’ planned European tour, set to start at the beginning of 2023. Without further ado, here’s my review of “Past Lives” by L.S. Dunes, out Nov. 11.

2022

This song starts off with vocals by Anthony Green, leading into fast-paced guitar. In contrast to a song with a slow buildup, “2022” starts off fast and leads into a slower pre-chorus. Although the melody is relatively simplistic, the sound is unique, and the chords are beautiful. Although L.S. Dunes is just getting started, I have a feeling “2022” is a good representative of their specific sound. Overall, I enjoyed this song. I found the title a little cliche, but I still think it’s a really good song.

Antibodies

Right off the bat, “Antibodies” has a different feel from “2022.” The song starts off with a clean, 90s-style guitar riff, greatly reminiscent of Weezer’s “Pinkerton” album. The minor chords go really well with Green’s vocals, which have a similar style to lead vocalist Kellin Quinn of Sleeping With Sirens. I actually enjoyed the buildup in the beginning to Green’s vocals, as the guitar parts from the other members so far have been the most appealing part of L.S. Dunes’ music for me. Near the end of the song, there’s another part where Green’s vocals take the lead, something “2022” didn’t have, which I actually enjoyed. Overall, this song was a really enjoyable listen. It had a calmer feel than “2022,” but by no means was it boring. It would be a good song to listen to in the car while driving.

Grey Veins

“Grey Veins” starts off with another guitar riff, but it still manages to sound distinct from the previous songs. Green’s vocals are not very different from what we’ve heard this far into the album. So far, the guitar parts are taking the lead in the most distinctive parts of this album. The chorus feels very 90s rock, again, which I enjoy. It feels like they’re channeling classic influences like Weezer while still remaining true to a distinct sound that is entirely their own. The chorus is the best part of this song – it’s slower, and catchy, the kind of song that gets stuck in your head.

Like Forever

“Like Forever” starts with the intensity of Green’s vocals remaining at the same high pitch that they took throughout the album. This song doesn’t sound as distinct as the others, blending into the overall L.S. Dunes tone. It’s not bad, but not particularly memorable either. The guitar parts at 1:08 are the most exciting part of the song.

Blender

This song immediately improved my listening experience. With a slower beat similar to “Antibodies,” the song has a distinctly rock-inspired sound, starting off with a relatively simple but still attractive guitar riff. Lower vocals by Green joined in soon after that, and I appreciated a break from the high pitch he normally uses – although that reappeared by the middle of the song. I hate to keep saying how these songs really remind me of Weezer, but as a Weezer fan, they just do. It’s a really classic distorted guitar style that was popular in the 90s, and I love it. The end of the song sounded more similar to the rest of the songs, so my favorite part was the beginning.

Past Lives

“Past Lives,” which shares a name with the album, starts out with strong drums and vocals by Green. Guitar parts join in immediately, but they take a backseat to Green, mainly focused on background melodies. That might be why the intro to this song was not one of my favorites, although by 0:53 the guitars become louder, and in my opinion, the song gets good. “Past Lives” has a pretty similar sound to the other songs, but at 1:20 there’s this really pretty riff that sounds different from the ones we’ve heard so far. It’s quieter than the others, and it really stuck with me. I’m definitely replaying the song just to find it again. The tone of “Past Lives” switches around 2:35, going to a slower, reverbed post-chorus, which I enjoyed. This transitions into the chorus from earlier, ending “Past Lives” with strength.

It Takes Time

“It Takes Time” starts out with crooning vocals by Green and minor chords. The guitar sound is darker than it was earlier in the album, making me wonder if the chords were played on a tuned-down fretboard instead of E standard. For a majority of the first half of the song, Green sings in a lower key than usual, which I really liked. The riffs in this song stand out more than “Like Forever” and “Past Lives,” similar to “Grey Veins.” I think I’m finding a theme that I prefer the slower songs, which give the listener more time to truly appreciate the talent showcased. The chorus is prettier than the other ones so far, and Green’s vocals manage not to drown out the guitarists. Overall, I liked this song.

Bombsquad

The intro to “Bombsquad” is incredibly distinct, marking the first true shift away from the sound of the earlier songs. The drums match the guitarists in strength, making this song sound powerful from the get-go. There’s a solo guitar part at around 0:54, and I don’t know exactly who played it, but it’s catchy. Although the guitarists stick to a few notes throughout this song, it’s memorable. I can’t say it’s my favorite song, but it’s good, and definitely one I’d listen to again.

Grifter

This song heads straight into the thick of it, not bothering with a build-up. If anything, that comes later, preceding the chorus. The second half of “Grifter” appealed to me more than the first, slowing down more than it had in the beginning. Around 2:50 is when the song gets interesting, departing from the intense sound for a more streamlined one, with Green’s vocals soft and smooth. It definitely has a sound that departs slightly from the others, although it’s nothing too unique. If anything it was a good song, although not jaw-dropping.

Permanent Rebellion

“Permanent Rebellion” came out before the other songs on the album, released early as a teaser. It was this song that had me highly anticipatory for “Past Lives,” as the song had a unique sound that I haven’t heard, maybe ever. Although some of the other songs have a clear influence from 90s rock, “Permanent Rebellion” has a sound so distinct that I can’t say it has any real influences from bands other than the ones the members themselves participate in. I’ve listened to this song so many times that I have to say it’s still one of my favorites. The riff at 2:18 is so addictive that it’s something I want to learn to play eventually when I get good enough, which might take a long time as the guitarists in L.S. Dunes are so talented – Frank Iero has been playing for 30 years now.

Sleep Cult

Sleep Cult starts out softly. It’s the quietest song on the album, with soothing, slow guitar melodies at the beginning leading into Green’s vocals, which are tamer than they were earlier in the album. It’s a good song to close out the album, and I can envision them playing this song to close out their Europe tour dates in 2023. It’s pretty and calm, and for my rock lovers out there, it’s a good bedtime song. Alongside “Antibodies,” “Sleep Cult” would be a great song to play during a late-night drive. I think if I had to go for another favorite song on this album, “Sleep Cult” would be one of my favorites. This song deviates the most from the typical L.S. Dunes sound I’ve come to get to know on this album, and I look forward to seeing how the members perform it live.

Overall thoughts

My personal favorites off of this album are “Antibodies,” “Grey Veins,” and “Sleep Cult.” “Antibodies” has that classic darker sound that I’ve come to associate with Weezer’s oldest albums such as “Pinkerton,” but the similarities between “Antibodies” and other rock songs end there. The song has a sound so unique to L.S. Dunes that it drew me in immediately, and I can’t wait to re-listen to it.

“Grey Veins” is somewhat similar to “Antibodies,” but it’s good as a track on its own despite that. The chorus on “Grey Veins” is the best part of the song, in my opinion. “Sleep Cult” is my final favorite just because it’s the song on the album that departs the most from the overall sound the listener comes to expect from the final song. I think it’s a good experiment with slower, contemplative rock, and I hope L.S. Dunes continues to play with different sounds in the future.

Go check out their album, and keep an eye out for future releases! L.S. Dunes tour dates in Birmingham and the UK have been released, so if you’re in the area, consider stopping by.