Static Dress - Rouge Carpet Disaster
May 20, 2022
91
It's been well established for quite some time now that, within the post-hardcore and emo scenes, Static Dress are one of the most exciting and eccentric outfits out there, and a band that are not to be missed. Taking sounds and stylistic choices that feel fantastically early 00's, and reshaping them in a way that feels utterly timeless, it's no wonder that they have become one of the most talked about new bands within many rock communities. Their previous release, their 'Prologue' EP, showed the band leaning heavily into the concept that is buried deep within the very foundations of much of their material, and provided some fantastic tracks, such as the brilliantly catchy 'sober exit(s)' and the raw, pummeling 'foreplay is not my forte'.

But with 'Rouge Carpet Disaster', the band not only produce some of their finest material yet, but solidify their position as probably the most innovative and exciting band in the whole of the emo scene. Throughout the twelve tracks present here, we are given a tour of Static Dress's many sonic capabilities, but never once does a track feel underthought or out-of-place; there's a distinct sonic and stylistic cohesiveness that truly lends itself to painting the world of Hotel Disdain, a world of 1940's celebrity glamour and excess, and the tales of the inhabitants within.

The concept itself is something feels tantalisingly just out of reach; perhaps it's the tale of explosive love gone horribly wrong, or perhaps we're stalking the halls of the Hotel Disdain, seeing what fates befall the individuals living in their own little worlds. There are hints of a murder taking place, thrown in alongside what could be references to drug taking and perhaps the final moments of a couple tearing each other apart; nothing is ever explicitly shown, but you feel as though vocalist Olli Appleyard is guiding you through this world akin to perhaps the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Appleyard is far from some silent apparition, however; there are few individuals I can think of that are able to match the versatility and adaptiveness of Appleyard's vocals. 'such.a.shame' sees Appleyard singing soft, gorgeous melodies against a muted backdrop of shimmering guitars, whilst 'Courtney, just relax' is a brutal, catastrophic onslaught of frenetic unclean vocals, with a distinctive raspiness to them that perfectly accompanies the fuzzy, almost intangible instrumentation that Static Dress so deftly craft.

The bass and guitar work throughout, by Connor Reilly and Contrast respectively, is always perfectly suited to the needs of the tracks, whether it's a catchy riff like on '...Maybe!!?' or a pounding, driving rhythm like on 'Sweet.'. Furthermore, Sam Ogden's percussive work is consistently brilliant, with a perfect balance of ferocity and complexity to match the off-kilter nature of much of the music present on this album; I'd argue, however, the highlight of his work is on the more straightforward hardcore punk affair 'unexplainabletitlesleavingyouwonderingwhy (Welcome In)', which shows the band at their most fun and carefree, demonstrating a theatrical side to the four-piece that is completely unexpected yet wonderfully appreciated.

The beauty of the concluding moments of this album, however, must be discussed; rounding out the album with the one-two punch of 'Marisol' and 'cubicle dialogue', we get to see Static Dress not only at their most tender and experimental, but also at arguably their grandest, as we shift from what Appleyard describes as 'desperate lovers' to plunging from the twenty-third floor of the Hotel Disdain, ending the album with as much explosive mystery as we began with, and truly leaving the listener feeling as though there is yet more hidden just out of view, with hints of a further tale to be told being held in the hands of Static Dress. There's a distinct beauty in both the tenderness and the brutality of these closing tracks, and I think that's what sums up the music of 'Rogue Carpet Disaster' best: a beauty to be found in brutality.

Yes, it is easy to recommend Static Dress to fans of My Chemical Romance, Coheed & Cambria, and other such juggernauts of the earlier moments of post-hardcore, but it would be a complete disservice to this four-piece to describe them as a 'post-hardcore revival' or 'emo revival' act when what they have produced feels, although nostalgic, completely revolutionary; there is no band out there now that has blended such a variety of sounds in such an intricate way to produce something so distinct. 'Rouge Carpet Disaster', I believe, is going to be looked back on as a landmark album of the emo scene in years to come, something that artists listen to and say 'I want to sound like that'.

This is Static Dress' world, and we're all just living in it.

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