Following in the footsteps of 2020’s Truth and Ruin, Dead Quiet returns with a raucous album that’s as stylistically impressive as it is engaging. Building on the strengths of past releases, the keys have become even more integral to the instrumentation, and although there’s still definitely a pronounced stoner rock vibe, things have gotten slightly more downtempo and sludgy. It’s without a doubt the lattermost songs that show the sonic development of the band. “High Roads” has a juke-like feel that’s jazzy and melodic, as well as a prominent organ and bass interlude that’s not found in other songs on the album. “Murder City” has an almost electro feel, the keys more conspicuously synth-like than the somewhat more gravewave characteristic of other numbers. The guitar and bass downplay and chug throughout the verses to let the very forward vocals breathe; one thinks of Greg Puciato’s recent solo work in terms of the medley of guitar and electronic elements, as well as the overall phrasing of the choruses, and the flanged sequencers in the middle add a certain “On the Run” vibe. Overall, it’s arguably the highlight of the entire album. “Leave the Light On” leads with plangent piano anew, the Puciato comparison ever more apparent, with some slide guitar adding an even more dulcet and minor feel, evoking slight shades of Alice in Chains.
What’s piquant about IV is that despite the initial impression of influences stemming from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Mastodon, the latter half proceeds to refute this more simplistic understanding of the band’s sound… and this isn’t even getting into the more acoustic interludes of “Lamentations” and “Ascensions” that break things up and down in a way that wasn’t really seen on Truth and Ruin. Although some might peg it as more or less simple stoner rock based on the first few songs on the album, IV ends up bringing a nuance that makes it hard to describe it quite so simply. There’s an energy that can’t be ignored and a sensibility that makes it compelling, not to mention a thoroughly enjoyable listen, full of swagger and sensitivity all in one.