Dexter Danger: Hellafornia review by Halimun (Indonesia)

Dexter Danger, from San Francisco, California, was born into the world in the year 2000, right before pop-punk became wildly popular in mainstream music. In the early 2000s, I was surrounded by pop punk that was played on local radio, usually around evening time. My sister routinely listened to the radio to hear her favorite music including pop punk like Blink 182 and Sum 41. I was 5 years old at the time, but my ears were adept enough to be taken by the sound of those pop punk riffs and melodies that still ring in my ears today.

If people are enthusiastic about Tom Delonge’s return to blink-182, who recently released a new song entitled “Edging” and plan to release a new album, then I prefer to listen to Dexter Danger’s album – Hellafornia. I dig the nostalgic pop punk vibes I get from Dexter Danger, who not many people know these days, including me, if not from surfing Bandcamp. But the quality of their DIY music is no less good than mainstream pop punk music that is more popular than them. Dexter Danger is a band that is great at creating captivating intros and catchy choruses with hooks and melodies that you can feel. Although my favorite Dexter Danger song is “Seven Days,” from their 2003 Written In Blood EP, overall, I like Hellafornia better.

Hellafornia opens with “No Disgrace Like Home,” kicking into a mid-tempo beat and punk rock riff that seems to take you flying like the hero on their album cover. It coasts with vocals that build with an edgier tone as the song progresses. “Trainwreck” rolls in as the second track with the dominant bass rhythm of Isaiah Sanchez locked in with the pounding drums of Russ Akin, and the advice of always staying true to yourself. If you have a girlfriend and your relationship is on the rocks, take her to the park and play “The Rise and Fall Of Erica Vallejo” before your relationship comes to a sad end. I found out the song was written by guitarist Miguel Ceja and was featured in his film “Como La Guitarra,” which I need to see somehow. The next track, “System Overload,” starts ominously slow and then lets go before it jumps into punk up-tempo drums layered with catchy melodies and angst-ridden lyrics about people who take life too seriously.

In the middle of the album, Dexter Danger slows things down with “Far Away,” and as vocalist Aymen Trouble performs the bridge, I am taken back to their earlier material on Written In Blood which has a very raw and punk feel. More notables include “Promises,” which reminds me that ‘no promise is truer than a lover’s sunrise,’ and I love the ska sounding riff on “Modern Day Sid and Nancy.” Closing out the album is “See You In Hell,” a great title and song, with biting lyrics and riff similar to “Seven Days” at the end. Badasses!

Dexter Danger released two singles in 2016, “Hey Sunshine” and “Lucky Strike,” and I’m not sure if the band is still active or on hiatus. Maybe blink-182, Green Day, or Descendents will remain legends for most mainstream pop punk fans, but Dexter Danger, remains memorable and legendary to their dedicated fans from the United States to right here in Indonesia.

REVIEWED BY: Halimun, October 22, 2022

Listen to Hellafornia