Subtlety within music is something often coveted and equally hard to obtain. Yet the tight riffing, hair flying, guitar screeching, drum bashing pair from LA throw caution to wind and come out all guns blazing in their brand new debut.
Opening track ‘End of the World’ greets the listener by slamming the tail-end of a nuke on their skull: with the guitar pounding like a warning siren. The whole record is saturated with drawling bittersweet vocals coated in sadistic a attitude, and lyrics like ‘come on take a breath now, cause life’s too short’ screams of instant musical satisfaction. But the chorus takes this duo to a whole new level of grandiose metallic preaching, as the two punctuate the grinding guitar slides with cries announcing ‘the end of the world!’ An aspect of the LA pair which makes them so distinctive is the caramel coated leather studded nature of their vocals; which cares little about scratching the eardrums of Simon Cowell, but instead spits acid joyfully at its audience. With lyrical subjects such as a casual ‘Walk of Shame’ being entirely justified, you get the impression the two simply sat down and said “hey, remember those things that we like to do? Lets make a flamboyant punk album about it”.
That the record has a 70’s sex pistols punk feel about it is undeniable, however, this is blended with a sort of bizarre 80’s big-hair rock binge; with screaming guitar solos and elaborate percussion sets. Yet, there are several other elements chucked into the mixture; like the upbeat soul section of ‘Walk of Shame’ or the over-the-top metal thrashing of ‘Creeplife’. Also, the brilliantly twisted influence of Jack and Meg White becomes especially recognisable in the way Lindsey Troy twists her guitar between high pitched squeal and ripping deep undertones, and how drummer Julie Edwards works perfectly in sync with her partner. Humour is banded about by Troy’s mischievous ravings, with her accusing her subsequent stalker in ‘Creeplife’ as being ‘a dirty old man’, with a large amount of sassy lip-curling and aggressive side-comments.
But, this continuous pounding, hair-swishing attitude can wear thin at points, with there being breaks from blows few and far between. This energy is something to be embraced about Deap Vally, but it can prove to be one of their greatest problems, because it just doesn’t seem to let up. Toward the end of the album, the last few songs begin to blur together as the listener’s interest wavers, although ‘Raw Material’ does inject some ear pricking, crowd stirring material into the indifferent listeners ear’s. Ending with refreshingly bluesy ‘Six Feet Under’, the band finish things off with a shifting sexy nine minutes of confident performance, in which they showcase the range of sounds they can achieve. This song just about saves what would otherwise be a mostly disappointing part of an intriguing debut from a promising musical duo: with its beautifully smooth, entirely vocal finish.
Deap Vally know how to throw their punches, yet at times this can also grate on the listener a little too much. As a debut though, it achieves what many bands fail: to make an impression on it’s audience. Certainly the creases need ironing out, and their variety of sounds could be a little more diverse across the album, but their passionate menace is so vibrant, like a particularly charming kick in the shins, that this first foray is admirable.