Album Review: Simple Danger—“Simple Danger”

By Rachel Chiong

Raw like bathroom graffiti, private like a diary, Simple Danger’s self-titled EP came to fruition inside a bedroom in Oshawa late spring. The album is a glimpse into frontman Dev Maharaj’s mind. Every song is a plywood shelf, spilling with the contents of his creativity. The style is a mix of classic rock, laced with punk rhythms and the ferocity of a cowboy’s grin.

“Loser Since Seventeen” plunges us straight into our narrator’s world. Pulsing with bitterness, he screams at his adversaries and himself. He cries, “What’s wrong with me?”; like an alien bursting from a womb, gaping at his splayed limbs as goo drips off his cheekbones and arms. The song is honest and does not hold back any frustration.

“Drop Insanity” drives the message further into your skull. A sweet chord launches you into heaven as you wait for the pearly glow to bathe your cheeks, only to have the clouds underneath you give way. In five seconds you’re plunging down a screaming rollercoaster (with thanks to Maharaj’s merciless vocals) to the darker hell of his mind. The time signatures flare unexpectedly, living up to its name, while it explores the gritty thoughts that never see the light of day.

Things seem to take a turn for the better in “New Up”. With its anthemic drums, it has the vigour of a drunk who’s eager to wreck a bar and kick some chairs around. The guitars reverberate from every side, encasing our narrator in good vibes. But after listening closely to the lyrics, this newfound reassurance seems to be a shaky one: “You’re the cure for my hopeless self / You know I need you.” Yet he continues to tread the streets, not letting the unexpected chords that snake into the verses trip him up.

“Gut Turner” and “Suffocated” add to the growing collection littering Maharaj’s mind. “Gut Turner” bangs heads with guitar chops sharp enough to grate against railing. The inevitable inertia afterwards is “Suffocated”. Like the roiling emptiness of a stomach, which just heaved up its unpleasant contents, the song is a metallic and bittersweet aftertaste. The singer repeats that he’s sorry over and over, until it seems like he’s sorry for his own existence. Slowly it turns from repentance to the seething anger that never left.

“Pipe Wrench Poetry” blasts the EP off. Shouldered by its “I’ll-show-you” attitude, its contrasts are as stiff as a middle-finger: “You’re clean, I’m stoned / You’re blind, I’m cold / You were fixed, when I broke.” The bass builds up, igniting the guitar’s shameless flaunting. It ends breathlessly. It is the bomb Maharaj walks away from without looking back.

This album has listeners visiting for the experimental punk and staying for the relatable narrative. A solid self-dialogue weaves in and out the songs.  The lyrics do not dissolve into poetic murkiness. They make it clear that struggles usually enclosed into the category ‘adolescence’ are very realistically struggles that anyone can face even into adulthood.  The bomb that is Simple Danger hasn’t finished detonating. What was once Maharaj’s solo project has been joined by the forces of Takeo Hirasawa and Ashton Ramsingh. They are a blast live, from Maharaj’s energy and Hirasawa’s sassy bass, to Ramsingh sealing the deal with his drums. The trio continues to brainstorm more music that’ll bite harder and deeper than the last. (self-released)

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