Photo: Mike Massaro / DIY.
On paper, there is nothing too rock ‘n’ roll about meeting at a crotchet group. But alas, paper can be a crude medium; have a listen to any track off Deap Vally’s debut album, 2013’s ‘Sistrionix’, and you’ll quickly realise that your local needlework class has been doing it all wrong. Sure they craft tapestries; but they also craft some of the most badass scuzzy tunes you could imagine. It was all about squeezing the most distorted riff-heavy slices of rock out of a pretty scarce pool of resources; one guitar, one set of bashed-up drums and no bass (but it ain’t need when that kick drum is living up to its name so perfectly).
‘End of the World’ might have only had one chord, ‘Baby I Call Hell’ might have just been one riff; but Deap Vally still managed to create a guitar-drum wall of sound heavier than Clifford the Big Red Dog laying down a fat beat. Somehow, late last year, they showed they’ve managed to make their sound even bigger with the growling pop of ‘Royal Jelly’. Now, they’ve announced their second album ‘Femejism’, to be released in September, and frankly we’re more excited than a cat nipping on cat nip. Here’s why.
Just a reflection of a reflection
Originally called ‘Reflection’ and played on tour live last year, ‘Smile More’ was released last month as the second track of the LP. It’s all about how sucky it is to be told to ‘smile more’, with a great blend of powerful politicised lyrics ("I am not ashamed, I’m no one’s wife") with some clever self-reflective (ha) accompanying replies ("Although the idea does sound kinda nice"). Musically, not much is new - it’s the same old razor-sharp riffs and attitude – but it points to a rather exciting lyrical progression.
Winner, winner, Nick Zinner!
Yeah, yeah, yeah! Nick Zinner’s on production duties for ‘Femejism’, which is pretty good news indeed; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist helped make The Horrors’ debut LP so raw, after all. You can certainly see the Zinner influence on ‘Royal Jelly’, with its hooky guitar sound. It seems to work perfectly with the heavier, scuzzier vibe that Lindsey and Julie bring with them. As the band have said themselves, recording with Zinner was an “epic adventure”.
Welcome to the sixties
Deap Vally have always been hugely influenced by classic rock from past decades; mainly the 70s with their Led Zeppelin-sized riffs. Their aesthetic, however, seems to have had a slight shift towards the sixties. Take the video for ‘Royal Jelly’ (above), with its neon pop art and vintage vibes, or the video for ‘Smile More’ (below) which features a rather trippy new logo and some fab new hair colours. Oh, and on the subject of music videos, the band have planned a visual accompaniment to every track on the album, even directing a few of them themselves, which is sure to be a sassy-as-fuck compilation of badass debauchery.
Hugeness, epicness and darkness
When speaking to DIY early last year - aside from being a bunch of teasers by saying their LP would be coming out in the next few months – they said that it’s gonna be an album of “hugeness, epicness and darkness” and will be stuffed with moments of “jamming”, which surely translates to loads of great bluesy licks and wails of distortion.
Gonna make my own puns
Finally, can we talk about that title? Not only is it repping the feminist angle of their material, but it then goes and blends it with the ‘vulgar slang’ (lighten-up Oxford Dictionary) of ‘jism’, which is surely one of the most glorious synonyms for a man’s – err – ‘seed’.
Deap Vally’s new album ‘Femejism’ is out on 16th September via Cooking Vinyl.