Saturday, February 16, 2008

Deas Vail

I saw Deas Vail live last week at the Music Hall, which has a history of hosting lots of up-and-coming bands. They were a great live band -- everything sounded really polished and professional, and I predict a bright future for them. I was also impressed that despite the soaring tenor vocals, all of the songs were done in the original key, and the lead singer didn't alter the melody to avoid the high notes (both of which are tricks that many bands use from time to time; for example, here's U2's Pride in the Name of Love in the original key; in a live performance at the time, it was about a half-step lower; and in a more recent performance, it was lower still.)

Here's a beautiful slower song of theirs:

Another good live video:

I can't recommend their album highly enough. You can buy it here.

I agree with this review, which calls Deas Vail "An Astonishingly Good Debut":
Frontman Wes Blaylock could very well be one of the best new vocalists in all of rock music, soaring above airy guitars and keys in a way that I thought only Copeland's Aaron Marsh was capable of (especially on the Mew-like "A Lover's Charm"). Backed by crunching guitars on tracks like the aggressive "Surfacing," and a simple yet effective piano-line on "Shoreline," Blaylock's voice soars through the roof and into the upper levels of the atmosphere.

Deas Vail's musical display shines the most when veering on the more melancholy side of the indie scene, especially on tracks like "Follow Sound," a five minute epic reminiscent of Coldplay. The band rarely falls into the trap of generic radio pop on All the Houses Look the Same, but even the tracks that do, such as "Anything You Say," or "Light as Air," only suffer from straying on the side of slightly more light-hearted pop.

However, musical maturity abounds that you don't usually expect on debut albums. Take "Shadows and City Lights," for example, a powerful tour-de-force with a deceiving intro that meanders slowly through moody keys and samples until the chorus, when hard-hitting guitars combine with a glockenspiel combine to create a powerful backdrop as Blaylock sings of a hopeless relationship. A young band that capitalizes off of their influences with amazing ease, and a sound that is as interesting as it is accessible, Deas Vail seems poised for greatness. The future looks promising, and if their debut album is any indication, we'll be hearing more from this band--a lot more.


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