Scottish alternative emo quartet Dude Trips are on the precipice of releasing their debut album Through Love & Death, You’re All I Have Left on 31st May, 2019. The band come from the far north-eastern coastal wilds of Fraserburgh, though their sound draws from much wider and more varied influences than their seaside town origins.
Since forming in late summer 2016, the band have released two EPs: Sad Lads—written on a whim in an attic, with the end goal of playing a single show in Aberdeen—and Keepsake, which was mostly written in a renovated granny flat. With forthcoming debut album Through Love & Death, You’re All I Have Left serving as the band’s first fully formed piece of studio work, it’s a weightier affair than their previous records, whilst retaining the raw emotion of earlier releases.
When speaking about the album vocalist and rhythm guitarist Shaun Ross states “We definitely experimented more throughout our time in the studio with Ricky Beetlestone,” he enthuses, “and I guess most of the influence for the record comes from going through hard times. We are a band that have always written truthfully about shit that’s happened throughout our lives. At first it didn’t click, but when we finished writing the album we realised that fifty percent of the songs touched on love, and the other half touched on death.”
The melancholic charm of opener “Black Canvas” is an angst filled anthem that on the one hand provides a heartfelt singalong and on the other an emotive strain highlighting a deceitful and upsetting break up. ‘In Between Days’ does nothing to brighten the lyrical tone but any band that gets referred to as the “sad lads” are not likely to be releasing songs on sunshine and rainbows any time soon. That said, the track punches in with a more upbeat tempo and an echoey shoegaze feel on the vocals and really lifts the album at this early stage.
Single ‘Documentaries’ showcases the vocalists excellently. Raspy tones layered with heartfelt melody that give way for the Scottish accented vocals to sit in the forefront and that is when this song soars. Regarding the meaning of the track the band says;“Documentaries is about telling yourself you’re over someone, but at the same time it’s still eating away at the back of your mind. You want to let go, but a part of you doesn’t—it’s a real shitty position to be in.”
There is a particularly special moment which comes in the form of “Tampa Bay”, perhaps the best bit of lyrical content on the album. Part acoustic ballad, part goodbye letter, a song like this wouldn’t be shunned amongst the likes of The Wonder Years back catalogue. With incredibly beautiful and touching moments “Kit” is another song that adds something special to the album. Again the use of a simple clean guitar riff sits behind those soaring vocals for an acoustic ballad and it is nothing short of stunning.
Other highlights come from the likes of “Sunday Club” and “Subbuteo” that are straight up bangers start to finish and offer a brilliant contrast to the more emotionally charged tracks on the album. Closing the album with “Through Love and Death” we get the a final acoustic... or it seems so until 2 minutes in where the emotionally driven vocals pick up and lead the full band in an explosion of sound. With a break section that could rival the old school formula of a You Me At Six track this really feels like the band are pouring absolutely everything they have left into this final song. It plays out the album brilliantly.
It would be easy for a band like Dude Trips to churn out 10 sad songs in the same vein and pass it off as an album. That is not the case on Through Love & Death, You’re All I Have Left where you have genuinely raw storytelling through creative and inventive takes on their well established sound and a well established genre. Wearing vulnerability and emotion on their sleeve this feels more like a coming of age full of tracks that both slam start to finish but tear out your heartstrings too. If this is what the band are producing on a debut we could be seeing great things in years ahead for Dude Trips.
Through Love & Death, You're All I Have Left is out May 31st via Side Mission Records
The band will be embarking on a UK headline tour in June/July 2019 in support of the album, with a special release show kicking things off on 8th June at Tunnels in Aberdeen.
DUDE TRIPS ‘Through Love & Death’ 2019 Live Dates:
08/06/19 - ABERDEEN - THE TUNNELS (RELEASE SHOW)
06/07/19 - GLASGOW - BROADCAST
07/07/19 - LIVERPOOL - OUTPOST
08/07/19 - CARDIFF - FUEL ROCK CLUB
10/07/19 - LONDON - THE SEBRIGHT ARMS
11/07/19 - BRIGHTON - THE HOPE & RUIN *
12/07/19 - CHESTERFIELD - COUNTY MUSIC BAR *
13/07/19 - LEEDS - TEMPLE OF BOOM *
* w/ All Better