Friday, October 25, 2013

Deap Vally Serves Up Some Sistrionix

Deap Vally by Bryan Sheffield
It took a few extra weeks for the San Fernando duo Deap Vally to drop Sistrionix, but the delay didn't do anything to dull the ferociousness of their debut. Lindsey Troy (guitar/vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums) continue to expand upon the cult following they earned with live gigs in Los Angeles.

Since then, they've worked their way up to opening for bigger acts like Muse and the Vaccines before releasing their exclusive EP Get Deap!, which heavily showcased songs from the upcoming album. Around the same time, the band was also featured on a music compilation from the fourth series of True Blood (She's A Wanderer) and a more obscure music compilation called 1234 (Gonna Make My Own Money) put out by LOAF.

While Gonna Make My Own Money appears on Sistrionix, the compilation carries its own distinctiveness. It drones whereas the album version appears to be the punchier mix. The other compilation track, She's A Wanderer, did not make it onto the album.

The immediacy of Deap Vally is addictive but offers little diversity.

On the whole, the album is breaks some ground as a hard-hitting rock album heavily influenced by the big sound of blues. Where the duo does lose some luster is that the sound they make doesn't leave enough room for variation. Long segments seem like they are stuck in the same gear.

This isn't necessarily a band thing, especially because the band is known to break its material down into some interesting and mood inducing formats during live shows. But it does make the atmosphere considerably more one-dimensional than it could have been. Deap Vally has more depth than formula.

So much like the EP released last May, the dialed-down blues and amped up rock is primal enough to catch your breath along with your attention. The only real drawback is that it works best in smaller doses. In other words, most of the tracks can punch off a playlist, just not each other. There are exceptions, of course. And Baby I Call Hell is included among those exceptions.

As the second track off the album, Baby I Call Hell epitomizes the sound that the duo and Lar Stalfors (the Mars Volta, Cold War Kids) have put together. Deap Vally excels at delivering straightforward lyrics that lay down a toughness and dare every man within earshot to measure up.

Likewise, Bad For My Body doesn't directly address men but carries the same kind of seduction. Troy wails on and on about doing things bad enough that their mothers might blush. The percussion-heavy foundation drives the point home.

Of course, not every song from Sistrionix relies on seduction. The opener, End Of The World, is pointed social-political commentary that reminds everyone that life is too short for hate and war. In sum, it wouldn't make any sense to be hateful when faced with the end of the world so we might as well get along as if it really was the end.

Other standouts from the album include the riveting tribal-like yells of Gonna Make My Own Money, the smoothly paced rocker Lies, and the slow burn of Six Feet Under. Aside from those, Walk Of Shame is one of the more surprising outbursts on the album, clocking in under two minutes.

Other tracks like Creeplife sustain the sound but not the attitude. Your Love draws boundaries as opposed to issuing stalker warnings, but also does more to put up barriers than stick to the strong girl persona. Woman Of Intention also feels misdirected. Raw Material is much smarter, simply stating that if we are raw materials then it is our right to create ourselves however we want.

Sistrionix By Deap Vally Serves Up 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Sistrionix By Deap Vally is a great get the weekend off right starter despite a few buzzkill tracks that get in the way of an otherwise independent rock girl smash. Maybe their material just works best when they are fighting for themselves or everyone as opposed to fighting against someone.

Sistrionix by Deap Vally can be fond on Amazon. You can also order the album from Barnes & Noble or download it from iTunes. The band is currently touring in the United Kingdom and will expand its European tour through December. You can find more play dates by visiting them on Facebook.
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