Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)
"Harvest on a Hype relentlessly rocks with barely a place left for a listener to catch their breath. The songs are strong, the musicianship is consistently remarkable, and Dead Smiling Pirates’ ability to take a song and change it up partway through is wonderfully unique. The world has enough alternative indie rockers to where things can become indistinguishable from one another. But this power trio from Copenhagen shows the skills needed to set themselves apart from others, and offer music fans a fantastic listening experience. This 2012 album, Harvest on a Hype, is the band’s second release, and is a staggeringly good sophomore effort.
The talent contained within this trio is such that you’d be astonished to hear this much sound coming from three men. Each song on the album is ripe with roaring guitars, pulsing bass lines, crisp and forceful drumming, and vocal performances which remain harmonic, even when channeling an angry lyric. More an indication of their talent is their ability to take a seemingly straight forward alt-rock song, and turn it on its head upon reaching the chorus. Without abandoning the elements of rock, the men of Dead Smiling Pirates manage to craft clever pop hooks that kick their songs up above the usual fare and make them infectiously memorable.
The aforementioned lead-off track, “Dandruff Killer Punch” is a pristine example of what the group is capable of, and what Harvest on a Hype largely consists of. Here, the lyrics are kind of an odd throwaway, going from the titular phrase into the mention of lollipops and such, but the magic of the song is in the melody anyway. As the guitars come in and rip away, they launch into a riff that could easily carry them through the song in its entirety, however, once the chorus comes up, the song shifts into a slightly more up-tempo, poppier sound that simply arrests the attention of the listener. Generally a segue such as this would seem a bit out of place, but it seems entirely natural here.
The title track shows a bit more musical depth as Burmeister adds little flourishes of his guitar into the backing musicianship, underneath the already stellar lead work. Aaberg’s forceful drumming propels the song forwards, right into and through its double time chorus. Once again, this change-up is a touch that the song doesn’t need in order to work so well, but the addition of it makes for that much more of a superlative listen. Speaking of superlative, “Hanging Around” takes the best elements featured on the whole of Harvest on a Hype and compresses them into one piece. The song is positively dynamic; the change-up into the chorus is the best one of the album and the bass line that Christensen plugs away at holds everything together while still standing out as a great piece of individual talent.
“I don’t owe you anything” Burmeister angrily sings on “By The End Of”. In a perfect combination of songwriting and performance, the intensity of the track grows as it goes along and climaxes in an anguished cry and sledgehammer of a bass part. It’s followed up by the equally exceptional “What You’ve Done.” Here, the Dead Smiling Pirates bring us jangly guitars, crisp, quick, and strong drum fills, and another bass performance that chugs along to a pretty quick ¾ time signature. This is one of the fantastic examples on the album that shows just how much sound the band can generate as a three piece".
Review by: Heath Andrews from ReviewYou, March 6, 2012