Between the orthodox and the experimental, the spectrum of rock music gets a fresh new sound or movement that becomes trendy (think of Nirvana and grunge in the early to mid-90s), or an old classic sound that gets revitalized (think of Italian rock n rollers Måneskin and their mainstream success). UK-based rockers Dude Safari are no stranger to that concept, as their debut full-length album by the name of YUSSUS sees the light of day, it draws a lot of similarities to bands like Weezer and Jimmy Eat World. So how does a young band at the dawn of their career balance between being influenced and being original? Let’s dissect the album YUSSUS and find out.
The opening track, Lead Balloon, begins with larger-than-life guitars playing chord progressions with a chuggy bassline in a very grungy manner that’s somehow heavy yet not very aggressive. The vocals are filled to the brim with angst and despair and they are complimented by the rhythm section that plays in a pop-punk-ish manner. Combine those elements and you make every emo-rock fan’s dream come true.
The second track, Bug Hunter, was the first single that the band released from this album. It’s riff-based and has a stompy bass line with thunderous drums. Similarly, Maybe It’s A UFO” has a very memorable and buzzing chord progression that will make you wanna repeat the song multiple times after you’ve finished it.
The fourth track, Big Worse, was also released as a single. It has some poppy and stompy drum lines, and I guess this is why the band describes themselves as being pop-grunge. The bass lines make the vocals and guitar of verses sound much heavier and stronger. I’m No Good is much heavier than the tracks before it, the guitars and bass are super-charged and the drums sound heavier than ever. It has a heavy breakdown and the outro literally ends the song on a high note. It has to be one of my favorites here.
The sixth track, Mr. Prickles was also released as a single. It’s a mid-tempo poppy song with a cool and memorable chorus. The nasal vocals perfect the emo/grunge aesthetic that the band seem to like a lot so far. The guitar solo and its pedal/effect are the coolest thing about this track. Doom & Bloom is another mid-tempo piece but it sounds more like a late 90s/early 2000s Alternative Rock piece with its dreamy guitars, extended chorus, and distorted vocals. It feels like one of the soundtracks of those 2000s action movies that used to feature tons of amazing Hard Rock and Alternative Rock tracks.
The eighth track, Born To Lose, is the strangest track on the album. It was also released as a single and it sounds like straightforward grunge. The effects on the guitars remind me of Nirvana and Soundgarden so much, but the bass, drums, and vocals give it that much-needed unique sound print and character.
The ninth track, Treading Water, is my ultimate favorite track from the entire album, and that’s because of the emotional and masterful vocal performance, the impactful memorable chorus, and most importantly the larger-than-life guitars and drums.
The following track, GODZILLA, was also released as a single and I can see why. The song has BIG guitars in every sense of the word, as well as the band’s signature groovy basslines. It showcases grungy goodness without forgetting the passionate vocals and well-written verses. It’s not easy to write such heavy songs with passionate soaring vocal lines, and that juxtaposition is what makes this track (and the whole album for that matter) work. The track has a super heavy breakdown in the end that will have you headbanging and craving for more heaviness.
I’ll Entertain Ya has a calm beginning before the distorted guitars shortly show themselves. It’s a little hard to explain, but I feel like this song was written as a ballad first and then they made the decision to add distortion to it. The whole arrangement is that of an emotional ballad that once again embodies the whole “Pop-Grunge” mentality in songwriting.
The twelfth and final track, Until I Disappear, has the guitar strumming with some soft vocals for almost three minutes and the band doesn’t start playing their proper chords, bass line, and drums until the last minute. It’s a very creative and different idea that I really enjoyed and it kept me looking forward to what’s about to come.
In conclusion, these guys took elements from emo, pop-punk, and punk rock and added a tint of grunge heaviness to it. With the soaring vocal performances you wouldn’t think such a formula would work, but it somehow magically does. This band and their debut record prove that you don’t have to abandon the genres you like or feel influenced by to create something new, for it does have elements of all the genres we mentioned, but it just doesn’t overdo it. The fine line between paying homage to other bands and copying them is pretty much respected here, and I can see a great future ahead for these guys once they start touring with this album and once it gets the promotion it deserves.