Saturday, September 13, 2008
Deas Vail - White Lights EP
One would be hard pressed to say Brave New World didn't make out like bandits in signing RUSSELLVILLE, Arkansas's Indie Rock quintet Deas Veil. After releasing what was easily one of last year's best records, the band has returned after months of intensive touring with the release of White Lights - an EP encompassing a subtle, yet fantastic progression from 2007s All The Houses Look The Same. A far more accessible and focused collection of songs, it would seem as though Wes Blaylock and company have truly started to come into their own - expanding on or improving upon nearly every aspect that made the debut shine. Don't misconstrue, everything that made the debut so incredible is here, its just louder, tighter...better. From Wes Blaylock's soothing melodies and unthinkable range to the driving and rhythmic percussion of Kelsey Harelson, if White Lights is the precursor of what is to come with the upcoming LP fans sure have a lot to be excited about come the new year.
In comparison to the All The Houses, White Lights features a much more full sound; both in production and instrumentation. In a sense, it is a more diverse release, as the band clearly makes it appoint to offer a distinct offering with each track. Not only do many of the songs have a little more teeth this time a round, with said improvements, the songs really get a chance to soar as they were always destined to. This notion really proves evident in the EP's more brooding opener "Under Cover." The addition of semi-frantic strings and Andy Moore's solo really give the song character, while the chorus packs more of a punch than anything the band has ever recorded. The EP's title track offers fun gang vocals and a distant alt-country tinged guitar that fits incredibly well with Blaylock's falsetto delivery.
As the listener moves into the heart of the release, It becomes exceedingly difficult to describe songs like "Last Place" and "Balance" because simply put, they are easily two of the best songs the band has ever created. The vocals truly shine in the more stripped down "Last Place" until the song swells into a great orchestral gem with slight electronica nuances. The ever somber "From Priests to Theives" is truly a heart wrenching number when the listener lets it sink in. While the song carries the listener smoothly through the verses with a blend of relaxed mid-tempo drums, keys, and distant guitar, Wes's delivery in the chorus evokes true feelings of defeat and despondence.
To round off the release, in a word, "Balance," the EP's closer is simply astounding. Equally as inspiring as it is downright beautiful, the accompanying strings and lyrics make it my favorite Deas Vail track with lines like: "You are the Balance/and you are the Fold/You are the sails that bring me home." After the emotional toll "From Priests" will surely take on listeners, "Balance" is an exceptionally optimistic and hopeful endeavor. All in all, White Lights is a step up from the debut, encompassing the intricacy and grace of the last LP while truly realizing the band's true sonic potential. Great things are to come early 2009.