More on Deas Vail
I've been a huge fan of Deas Vail since discovering them nearly 2 years ago. The best way to describe them would be this: indie pop-infused rock with soaring and haunting melodies sung by one of the best vocalists in rock. Having seen them three times in concert, I can say that they're far better live than most bands are in the studio with the benefit of editing, autotune, etc.
As of October 27, their new album "Birds and Cages" is available on Amazon, or Itunes, or through their new record label Mono vs. Stereo (for only $7.00!).
I have to admit, even as much as I loved their first album "All The Houses Look the Same," I was a little bit nervous last year when they announced that they were recording both a 5-song EP ("White Lights") and a full-length album, all at the same time. I wondered if maybe they would be stretched too thin.
Boy was I ever wrong. To my ears, it's one of the best albums I've ever bought, let alone in 2009. If anything, they've taken their music to a new level. Wes Blaylock (the lead singer) is just as jaw-dropping with his soaring vocal pyrotechnics, and his wife Laura (keyboardist) is featured more often in some quite lovely vocal duos. Andy Moore (guitar) is constantly pushing the envelope with different sounds and effects. Kelsey Harelson's drumming rarely just keeps a steady beat; instead, he manages, in song after song, to use the offbeats in a way that propels the music forward and gives it a sense of mission and urgency. Finally, Justin Froning's energetic bass playing rounds out the band nicely.
The tunes are just as full of earworms (i.e., melodic hooks that you can't get out of your head) as ever, but the music is often adventurous and arresting. "Sunlight" has a progressive rock sound that is hard to place in a single key, and the verses are in 7/8 time. The intro to "The Great Physician" has a really nice chord progression that is far different from your traditional I-IV-V. The verses in "Atlantis" are in 5/4 time. "Puzzles and Pieces" is just beautiful -- I could easily hear this song featured in one of the many television shows that run out the clock by playing a poignant song while the various characters look pensive.
As another reviewer put it, "Deas Vail is one of the few bands who can take pop/rock music and force the listener to apply 'beautiful' to it as an adjective." If that sounds appealing to you, "Birds and Cages" should be the first thing you purchase.