Sistrionix (2013) ★ ★ ★ ★
When Deap Vally were flaring up in the blogosphere over summer as “artists to watch” they much surpassed their poster image as two Californian rockers. They command attention with classic rock ‘n’ roll theatrics. Their debut album Sistrionix lives up to its name – these two troublemakers are making a name for themselves.
With essentially one EP (2012’s Get Deap!) and a style that is loud, fast and fierce, you probably won’t find them on commercial radio, with a sound veering off clean rock that scorches the eardrums.
All of which might mean that the follow-up is an exciting outcome for the rock ‘n’ roll preachers, rambling in embellished leather jackets, black band tees and wild hair to the music of Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. It’s also sure to please the young fans worshipping the Karen Walker female eccentric.
Their signature sound means that “Thelma & Louise” give us no time for a breather. Lindsey Troy is back with her signature raw vocals and Julie Edwards provides a wild percussion that makes you wonder how it is she still has any energy left by the end of the record.
“End of the World”, the opening track, has a killer riff and heavy distortion riding the distorted but consistent groove of the song. “Baby I Call Hell”, one of the 2012 singles, has Joan Jett written all over its howling vocals and heartbreaker anthem lyrics. This track is already a highlight of their live shows.
The mood then becomes blues-infused in “Walk of Shame” with an up-tempo break and lyrics of longing, regret and revenge. The entire album features a White Stripes –style marriage of shredding guitar and strong drumming but it is on “Gonna Make My Own Money” where their sound really starts to echo the grotty guitar work of Jack White.
“Creeplife” is a man-hating anthem spewing out insult after insult in a sassy, rocker tone à la Tina Turner: “I don’t think I’ll be visiting you in jail” – she cries/whispers. On that path, the ferocious sexuality stays alive in “Your Love”. The tempo is slightly slower but the passion oozes out each line and the sound delves into psychedelic.
An album standout is “Lies”, the single that put Deap Vally onto international playlists. And rightly so, it sends shivers up the spine with its dark yet alluring sound. “You’re gonna be alone when you grow old/Babe, I wasn’t bluffin’/ From now on, you get nothin’.”
In “Bad For My Body” it’s the perils of the rock ‘n’ roll high live – sacrificing “health”, “head”, “wallet”, “image” and “reputation. But they bash on through with the force of savage seduction. “Women of Intention” is just plain sassy.
“Raw Material” lives up to its name. However, this means that some of the lyrics are lost in the primordial sound. The howling blues and slower tempo winds down the pace for Six Feet Under: “You moved into my veins like a drug.”
The good news is that Deap Vally live up to their rocker girl locks. These two are the real deal. They may not provide the sentimental poetry or creative arrangement of other contemporary rock bands but they own a sound hardcore and addictive, very alive.
Published on the AU review.