Dead Pioneers’s Debut is Rooted in Indigenous Anger and Aims its Sights at the Problems in America
The Dead Pioneers’ self-titled debut album is more than a public service announcement, it’s the slap in the face that America deserves, a call-out we dream to hear aimed at a country rooted in hypocrisy. Themes of anger towards ignorance and injustice resonate with each track. Some bringing the heat, the rage we should all be expressing to the elite, power-hungry few who have destroyed the land and culture of the indigenous who were here first. Other tracks come at you in the form of slow well-written, often hilarious readings pointing out flaws in the American character. There is no doubt that once you hear the album, you will understand they are a band that holds their opinions close to the heart and should be heard by all.
For background, the Dead Pioneers were created by Gregg Deal who is an indigenous artist and the lead vocalist for the band. Within the lyrics of the songs, you will come to realize how his heritage plays an important role in the band’s identity and overall punk aesthetic. With him, you have Joshua Rivera (guitar), Abe Brennan (guitar), Lee Tesche (bass), and Shane Zweygardt (drums). The production of the album gives each member a moment to shine, whether it be the heavy bass and guitar matched with the voice of its respectfully angry lead singer, or the drums that drive the songs.
The album begins with the song titled “Tired.” The opening line – “America is a pyramid scheme and you ain’t at the top” – delivers the clear message of who this album is for and who it’s aimed at. From there it’s line after line of truth about the United States with this incredible clicking tone that builds suspense in between moments of rage induced drums and guitar work.
If “Tired” shows you who the album is aimed at, the next track, “We Were Punk First,” shares where the album gets its heart. The song is a deceleration for all indigenous people to explain that not only were they here first, they were the original punks. “Moving Day,” the third track, is the first to show their comedic approach and states clearly how Indian Removal appears to be like a moving day in U.S. history books ending with a joke that I’d rather not spoil.
By the fourth song, “Punchline,” I began to realize why I love the album so much – they sound like the Minutemen, the punk rock band from St. Pedro. Gregg Deal’s fast pace, moving voice with comedic verses that are f**king gold force you to rethink the state of things and something easily comparable with D. Boon of the Minutemen’s approach. In addition, this particular song showcases some heavy bass which also sounds a bit like Mike Watt (in my opinion).
The next song I would like to mention is “Bad Indian” which could be one of my favorites from the album. It allowed me to understand the ignorance of the American people and the subtle racism aimed at anyone who could be different. And for those who cringe at labels, “The Art of Savagery,” could be the song for you. Being judged and outcasted and labeled has come to be common by the so-called normal people of the world, this song shares the Catch-22 of being labeled in the eyes of a little girl in a beautiful and thought-provoking way.
The ninth track, “World Up My Ass,” pays homage to the Circle Jerks. It’s a killer rendition and clearly shows their musical talents when it comes to playing punk. The last song I want to mention is “Political Song,” a blood boiling, chilling, no holds barred song that reveals what the Dead Pioneers represent and the falsity of the American way of life. There are so many unbelievable quotes that should inspire and disgust you at the same time. Inspire you to scream for change, disgust you for how true they are. I believe there is a message, too, of how politicized human rights have become, and the damage as a result of these politicians using us as pawns. Throughout the entire song, the music builds as the singer peels back these layers of hatred, and once it’s over you are left wondering if the people who actually need to hear the message will ever get it.
I only mentioned eight of the twelve tracks from the debut of Dead Pioneers in the hopes you will head to Bandcamp or their website to listen to the rest. Without a doubt, it’s an album to be appreciated beyond the musical talent but for the message it presents. As always, when anyone aims to bring to light the errors of our society through punk rock in a healthy, acceptable way – I give them a nod of approval.
Check them out, swine.