Album Review: Dealer – Billionaire Boys Club

By Ryan Falla

Bringing a special brand of punk-grunge from their hometown of Los Angeles, the three-piece act ‘Dealer’ are dropping their debut record ‘Billionaire Boys Club’. Crafted from a deep angst born from founding member and singer/guitarist Kevin Clausens’ struggles in getting a musical project going. Dealer represents years of failed musical projects and struggles to get the band off the ground, finally coming together in 2016 as Sexless before a name change and lineup finalization. What’s striking about the record ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ isn’t the journey taken to create this album, but the level of emotion present in the album.

Much like the famous Nirvana debut ‘Bleach’, this record takes very real feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration as a charge for the music of ‘Dealer’; taking a grunge-rock feast and delivering it on a punk rock platter. The track ‘Stone Freak’ highlights the album’s elemental similarities to ‘B-side’ Nirvana; angst-ridden riffage and screeching vocals translate Kevin Clausens’ deep running emotions of rebellious motivation against a life that has done its damned hardest to keep Clausen from fulfilling his musical aspirations.

Overcoming numerous hurdles to find life, ‘Dealer’ injects a palpable amount of heart into the music; the angsty energy contained within ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ hitting like a sledgehammer with every track. ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ beats at the listener from cover to cover with zero breaks in the punk-laden grunge grind, brimming with energy. ‘Dealer’ is a band that likes to have fun, from their tongue-in-cheek album cover featuring the trio putting on their best Bee-Gees impression to the high-energy musical content featured within the record; there is no shortage of inspiring personality.

‘Dealer’ takes advantage of first impressions by speeding out of the gate with ‘AM Gold’. Drummer Darien McKinney performs with a striking similarity to Melvin’s Dale Crover; rushed aggression that brings a technical flavor to a style of drumming with heavy roots in punk rock. McKinney carries a great sense of musicianship with a clear awareness of when he needs to lay his drumming back and when it needs to be cranked up. The mark of a great drummer is their ability to inject different forms of energy into the same riff, a quality Darien McKinney holds in spades.

The formula embraced by ‘Dealer’ takes after old-school grunge; a punk approach with a slight uptick in technicality. ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ is not a record that attempts to change up what they introduce, and while this contributes to the success of the record it does give room for drifting attention.

‘Billionaire Boys Club’ is a straightforward approach to punk-laden grunge rock that hasn’t seen much success since the grunge hey-day of the ’90s. An album with straightforward qualities such as ‘Billionaire Boys Club’ calls for an equally straightforward review.

This is a record that calls to familiar tones present during the golden years of grunge rock, reviving the palpable angst of Nirvana with new life fit beautifully for the modern era of rock.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Record Label: Wicked World
Release Date: February 17th 2017

Track Listing:
01. AM Gold (4:17)
02. Odious Charm (4:05)
03. Slur (3:01)
04. Total Horse (1:35)
05. She’s As Beautiful As A Foot (3:23)
06. Stone Freak (3:31)
07. Fester (2:52)
08. Solar Dominion (3:49)
09. In The Flesh (4:23)
10. Cake Walk (4:12)

Total Duration: 35:08

Dealer links: facebook | bandcamp