Marriage by Deap Vally album review by Adam Williams for Northern Transmissions



Deap Vally

For their third record, Deap Vally recognised that the sum of their parts – two members, two instruments, two voices – created a barrier that they wanted to smash down. Unlike their previous two records Lindsey Troy (guitar and vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums and vocals) threw their net wide with the view of ensnaring a broad range of artists to add a light sprinkling of something extra to their latest offering.

Reflecting on how ‘Marriage’ came to be, the duo state “being in a band is like being in a marriage: sometimes it’s magical, sometimes it’s unbearably challenging. To reinvigorate that marriage we’ve made album three a genre-bending experiment with new collaborators and instrumentation that push the limits of what has previously defined us.”

Notably ‘Marriage’ uses Deap Vally’s raw, blues-rock stylings and builds upon on them, depending on whomever is teaming up with the pair at any given time. Although, true to their word, it’s evident they’re not straitjacketed by the rumblings of guttural rock ‘n’ roll this time around. ‘Perfunction’, an ode to celebrating imperfection, is a revved-up, rollicking opener that kicks off the duo’s latest release with aplomb. Amongst the guttural stomps and gnawing fretwork, little nuances scurry about as Troy nonchalantly snarls “I’m a mess/but I’m clever/so fuck it/whatever.” ‘Magic Medicine’ the album’s lead single, sashays into a psychedelic realm, thanks to its otherworldly aesthetic. Clearly the pair’s buddying up with Flaming Lips on the aptly titled ‘Deap Lips’ in 2020 ensured Troy and Edwards felt comfortable expanding their musical palette to something a little weird. Cutting a defiant figure, with a slinky synth motif and a clenched fist, ‘Phoenix’ dials down the blues-rock to usher in a danceable groove, as an earnest Troy proclaims “nothing’s going to take me down/nothing’s going to break my crown/as long as I can breathe/no-one’s going to stop me”. A glam-stomp and a ballsy attitude fuel another song of bullish defiance via ‘I’m The Master’. Gnarled and impassioned, this is Deap Vally invigorated and howling at the moon “I’m the master/I’m the man/when they come around here/you can tell them who I am”, like they’re the new sheriffs in town.

Seemingly as prequels to ‘Marriage’ the Californian duo released two EPs earlier this year, ‘Digital Dream’ and ‘American Cockroach’, with both of these offerings following the same manifesto: collaboration is key, genre isn’t. Two tracks have been lifted per EP in the shape of ‘I Like Crime’ featuring Jennie Vee from Eagles of Death Metal/Palaye Royale and ‘Give Me a Sign’ from ‘American Cockroach’. ‘High Horse’ which has KT Tunstall and Peaches on it, and ‘Look Away’, a hook-up with Warpaint’s jennylee represent ‘Digital Dream’. This quadrant of collaborative songs showcases Deap Vally’s divergence away from what you’d expect from their brand of rambunctious blues-rock. In particular ‘Look Away’ sounds more like Warpaint that it does the Cali twosome, thanks to its swampy, ethereal haze and ‘Give Me a Sign’ unfurls with a smoky texture that trades more in melancholy and atmosphere than battered drums and grubby riffs. ‘I Like Crime’ and ‘High Horse’ on the other hand channel DV’s lust for something visceral but with an electronic nuance here and an unexpected left turn there.

It goes to show, if you keep it interesting and spice things up from time to time, that bodes well for a happy ‘Marriage’. I look forward to Deap Vally renewing their vows in the near future.

Pre-order Marriage by Deap Vally HERE


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