Deadbuttons, fomerly Dead Buttons, have gone through a lot of changes. Moving from a duo into a full band, changing the name, and slightly evolving the band’s sound, Deadbuttons have started a new chapter. 1 is an accurate title as it marks the restart. From the 2014 EP to the 2016 and 2017 full lengths, it felt like each release was searching for an end to a journey. Now in 2020, this full length brings back some of the well known Deadbuttons songs, reinterpreted with the full band, and signals a move forward.
Songs like “Witch,” “Cockroacheeessss,” and “Foggy Night” reappear in expanded forms. The band’s previous releases were only guitar and drums with vocals and rabbit added the bass to the arrangements. 1 features Jiwon on synths adding another melodic line to the songs. I was kind of scared that the music could be overwhelmed with synths, but each song uses them to accent and highlight the main melodies rather than create opposing sounds.
After listening to Deadbuttons over the years, it felt like there was a struggle in the songs. The start of the band was high energy and frantic in the rock and blues combination. The punk elements surged the songs even higher and live performances were always fun to watch. With each release, the energy was there, but it felt like a struggle. Under this new psychedelic-garage-punk-rock combination, 1 feels like there’s nothing left to prove. This album is the work of Deadbuttons and people can take it as they like.
The mix of track lengths give 10 songs a 46 minute playthrough with some great energetic songs mixed with tracks like “Hide and Seek” that celebrate a low key presentation. Any older Deadbuttons fan will likely recognize many of these songs, but the new recordings give them a different energy. From tracks that carry a high polish to others that feel more improvisational and recorded with minimal takes. “Cockroacheeesss” is a 14-minute opus and one of the strongest tracks of the album. I think that the song order of 1 puts some of the better songs on the backside of the album. All together, I don’t think there’s a missing or lacking track at all.
If 1 marks the return of Deadbuttons, I’m all for it. The band, at this point, is one of the legacy rock bands that made a lot of noise in the middle of the 2010s. Now everyone is older, has gone through experiences, and this influences every moment on the album. Deadbuttons didn’t return to simply do the same thing it has before. The band has expanded and is forging something new that everyone should be excited about.