The three-piece band Dead Seconds comprised of Matt White (vocals/guitar), Stephen Mason (bass) and Derek Reis (drums) formed in 2012 and earlier this year released their debut album The Grain. On their Bandcamp page and website they mention they are a blues/rock band. After listening to their album I have to say they feel much more aligned with a band like Yo La Tengo than Stevie Ray Vaughn. The blues aspects are minimal and at best sprinkled here and there. I would classify their music as indie rock or alternative.
Regardless of labels the music is constantly solid. Dead Seconds’ no frills style rock isn’t particularly challenging to listen to but is easy to enjoy for anyone who has even dabbled into alternative music in the last twenty years.
The album starts with “Throng” which is a highlight that revolves around an exceptional guitar riff, tom heavy percussion and a steady bass. It’s a good groove and only gets better with the vocals. The lyrics are well written and ambiguous. White sings, “Footsteps pull me through, with a weight I can't explain. I don't know how long I was lost, but I know how much it cost. Copper leaves will hide my way.” The chorus gets heavy and is reminiscent of ‘90s grunge. The uplifting, optimistic energy during the verse is contrasted by the darker energy of the chorus. I have mixed feeling about this and I have to say a brighter chorus built on the energy of the verse may have been more effective. All things considered the song still has a number of inspired moments.
“Black and Teal” shows off the band's dynamics as they go from loud to soft and places in between. This fact alone displays that the band has chemistry and has been working on these songs for quite some time. As with the first song you can hear elements of grunge and that blues influence even peaks its head ever so slightly.
“Wildfire” benefits from start and stop timing from the bass and guitar. Around halfway through the song begins to climb towards its crescendo. “Ancient Curves” is another highlight. The vocal harmonies were great and the song feels quite ambitious between the guitar solo and the epic ending. “Grey Bird” is the seven-minute closer with a one-minute ambient ending.
The Grain isn’t perfect but is a solid debut that is consistent with a nice ebb and flow. Recommended.
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