The Dauntless Elite – More Bloody Bad News

The Dauntless Elite - More Bloody Bad News cover

It’s a pleasure to be coming back to the Dauntless Elite after so long. They’re a band I’ve always thought of fondly, but leafing back through my record collection I realise I’ve not actually heard anything from them since 2004’s Security? Apparently I’ve not picked up any of their records since then. I also remember emailing the band after first hearing Security? to ask after an ‘upcoming’ gig only to be told that I’d unfortunately read a date from the previous year, and they weren’t due in Brighton any time soon. I’ve never seen them live, either.

Still, here I am, almost a decade later, now well and truly settled in the city I was still getting a feel for when I heard Security?, listening to More Bloody Bad News for the seventh time and writing out what is probably going to be my final music review for Nostalgia For Infinity. It feels like things have come full circle in some ways, though the moment I try to pin that feeling down the idea evaporates into nothing. That’s music for you. Forever personal, so deeply rooted in your personal reactions to memories and associations.

But let’s say you don’t share any of these memories and associations. What then?

Then, gentle reader, you enjoy the fact that this is some fucking sweet punk rock. Come on, ask me something harder.

The Dauntless Elite, for those not in the know, are from Leeds (my second favourite city in the UK purely on the basis of the music that comes out of it) and are made up of ex-members of Fig 4.0 and Joe Ninety. That’s a pretty solid UK punk pedigree right there. More Bloody Bad News, the internet tells me, is the band’s second album, following on from 2007’s Graft. It’s a pretty big gap between releases. Fortunately, whether the band have been on hiatus or just not recording, they’ve not lost their edge.

Lead vox are laid down by Joe Alderdice and they are, as ever, overtly English – thank fuck. All too many UK punk bands imitate a US-style nasal twang. In recent years the trend seems to have been firmly away from this but to Joe’s credit his style has always been thoroughly homegrown. He also lays down guitar, backed up by Lee Wall who also contributes vocals. The pair, ably accompanied by Stephen Hastwell on drums and Andrew Jackson on bass, are tight as hell with roughness emerging from the sound and production – the musicianship itself is sharp as skewers.

The bass is particularly overt, with twangy and melodic basslines weaving throughout the songs, most obviously when the guitars take a back seat. It’s always a pleasure to see bass appear front and centre as its integral role is all too often hidden behind the more obvious riffs and licks from dual guitars.

It’s tough to pick out particularly strong tracks; the album burns through its twelve tracks in thirty minutes and no song outstays its welcome. But if forced to play favourites, I could probably pick out a few, such as the opening track ‘Saliva’ for its chorus vocals, lush pre-verse guitar, and rhyming “saliva” with “survivor”. Another is the mid-tempo ‘Jack the Rippy’ with an excellent rolling drumbeat and some of the best lyrics on the album (“‘There’s meaning in everything’, says the man whose life has no meaning” and “So why the infatuation with killing time? You can’t take it when you’re gone and who will remember us anyway”), and ‘Better Than Nowt’ with its characteristically great singalong chorus.

The Dauntless Elite are a band with intent: they know exactly what they’re doing, they do it with deliberation and they do it well. More Bloody Bad News is a finely crafted punk rock album and I can’t think of a more appropriate conclusion with which to end both this review and my run reviewing music here at NFI.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Dauntless Elite – More Bloody Bad News”
  1. Hi Shaun, Joe from Dauntless here. Somebody sent me a link to this review – I don’t spend all day googling TDE honestly! Thanks for saying so much nice stuff, and not just rewriting the Bombed Out blurb.

    We haven’t played Brighton in ages, not since Toby moved away. We do get more gigs in Leeds these days though, since Toby moved here. If there’s anything we could blag onto in Brighton later in the year, we’d love to come down.

    I imagine blogging is much like putting music out, in that you’re never entirely sure if anybody is paying attention. So, thanks for paying attention. Our hearts are thoroughly warmed.

    All the best,
    Joe

  2. Shaun CG says:

    Hi Joe, thanks for your kind words (and, uh, for recording a fine album).

    Happy to hear you dug the review. I hate places that just regurgitate blurbs and press releases. What’s the value in that? So it’s always nice to hear that people appreciate the in-depth approach.

    I’ll let a few promoters I know know that you guys would be up for playing Brighton some time! Would be grand to see you play live.

    Best,
    Shaun