The Dangerous Summer finish what they started on album number two... While The Dangerous Summer’s ’09 debut ‘Reach For The Sun’ was a reasonably solid effort, it lacked any real bite to give the individual songs some staying power. ‘War Paint’ suffers no such issues. The Maryland rockers have stuffed every track here with instant hooks – ‘Work In Progress’ and ‘Everyone Left’ are particularly infectious specimens – and while there is an obvious lean towards mass appeal, they haven’t cheapened the genuine sense of emotion throughout.
Given the time of its emergence in the mid-2000s, Maryland quartet the Dangerous Summer probably should be categorized as "neo-emo" and "neo-alternative," since it marks a next generation (the bandmembers were in high school when they started), even if its sound has been a familiar one in rock since the 1980s. By now, U2's the Edge should be as resentful that he couldn't patent his guitar sound as Bo Diddley was that he couldn't copyright the Bo Diddley beat. Guitarists Cody Payne and Etay Pisano prove themselves close students of the Edge, in each song introducing repetitive yet driving riffs played with a ringing tone.
While the Dangerous Summer’s 2009 full-length debut, Reach For The Sun, was a solid if unspectacular alternative-rock album, the sonic similarities to the Starting Line’s output made it hard to wholly embrace on its own merits. Such similarities are not absent on War Paint—AJ Perdomo’s vocals are always going to sound a lot like those of TSL’s Kenny Vasoli—but this time around, they don’t detract from the bigger picture; the band sound far more assured in just about every aspect of their songwriting. However, while certainly catchy and affecting on first exposure, War Paint is definitively a grower, requiring the listener to invest time in it so they can truly appreciate the rich melodies and emotional honesty at its center.