The debut album from Deadwall, is one I have been looking forward to hearing for a long time. From the first live show, I knew there was something special about these boys. So when I got the nudge that this was on its way, I found a quiet corner, plugged in, and immersed myself in a Deadwall marathon. Selfishly, keeping every single bit for myself, that is, until now!
For those of you who are familiar with their first EP, 'Four Songs by Deadwall', can be described like an 'Amuse-bouche' for the senses, a little foray in the complex mind of Deadwall. However, Bukimi no Tani, is a veritable feast of words and music, tipping a nod to the intellectual musings of Masahiro Mori and the awkward, often uncomfortable nature of human interactions. The progression throughout, in comparison to their earlier release, shows their growth. This is a band to be taken seriously!
The opener, 'Blood Orange', harnesses melancholy, soothes and offers an easy introduction. Then it hits...2mins 43secs in, crashing, full pelt emotions almost fighting with the music beating at your eardrums. 'Eyes/Wide/Shut' continues with some beautifully progressive guitars and then leads you by the hand in to 'Two Rakes'. This has a familiar sound, similar to The Lightning Seeds, but it did take a few listens to place it.
Bringing forth the beating heart of the band, 'Mt. Mori' gives each instrument time to shine before closing with an almost church organ feel, into a dark and foreboding, grungy climax. I start to really get to grips with the essence of the album, I sense the discomfort and it almost offers the listener a voyeuristic window to some very personal feelings. The strength and intelligence in the songwriting come to the fore in 'The Great Beast', the person who you cannot shake, the one who can drain the energy from a room, an obnoxious and obsessive character. Whereas 'Daffolion', more upbeat, offers a plate full of delicately placed emotions.
A change of tempo for the 'Nocebo Blues' which is a kind of 'The Doors' influenced track, a finely tuned psychedelic palate refreshment. This is the flesh on the bones, the meat and substance, complex and intense. This is the song I have on repeat and with each listen, I replay many times, unfolding a new pleasure with each repeat, before allowing the next track to play. It is like watching a film over and over again, studying the scenery for missing clues and discovering a new one each time you watch.
When I do move on, I can almost see the writer pondering his existence and the complexities of life throughout 'Nursery Cloud N21'. However whimsical the subject matter, it is a powerful song with cleverly constructed layers and guitar trickery, more akin to Parquet Courts. 'Brick' drops in like a stimulant between courses, gentle repetitions with a great rhythm and lyrics that stay with you.
The final track, 'MISRS' plays out I am deposited in to what can only be described as an emotionally raw state, with an almost naked vocal. Gourley conveys passion in such abundance, to the point his voice quavers and almost cracks, it is gently abrasive and brutally tender at the same time. Slow and purposeful, this is the dominator of the album which has a hidden beauty that unveils itself with each listen. As it reaches the end, I cannot help but hit the repeat, desperate to listen again.
So, I open the bidding for LMS Albums of the year 2014 with this significant beauty of a composition. A stunning debut.