Deap Vally, Femejism, Nevado Records
Lindsey Troy met Julie Edwards at a crochet class in Silverlake, Los Angeles back in 2011. They quickly moved from needlework to rock ‘n’ roll: forming duo Deap Vally the same year. Since the release of their debut album Sistrionix, they have toured extensively, supporting the likes of Iggy Pop, Muse, and Peaches. Now back with their sophomore follow-up, Femejism, Deap Vally are back to slay.
Getting down and dirty straight away with opener ‘Royal Jelly’, Troy and Edwards know that if you want something, you’ve got to fight for it. ‘Julian’, a snarling send-off of a side boo, features high-paced guitars courtesy of Troy and fiery drums thanks to Edwards. Troy buoyantly declares: “We’re not in love, so let’s just dance”, and the duo rip it up like vintage White Stripes. The energy they channel is addictive, promising a memorable live experience.
The pulsating rhythm of ‘Gonnawanna’ rails against the tyranny of social media judgement in good, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll rebellion in the style of The Runaways. Much of Femejism is a battle cry against repressive scolds, taking on one of the most popular pet peeves of late, the command that a woman ‘Smile More.’ Troy states wryly, “I’m happy being unhappy man, and no, I don’t want to shake your hand.”
While no band is under any obligation to produce cerebral lyrics, the biggest trouble for Deep Vally lies in some of their lyricism. While ‘Gonnawanna’ is fun and fresh, it gets a bit tripped up with overtly literal phrasing. “I’m on a psychic safari and I’m not sorry/I’m sorry I’m not sorry” rhymes, and gets the point across, but verges dangerously close to self-mimicry than the immediacy it requires in order to take it to the next level. The subject of beauty pageants is addressed in ‘Little Baby Beauty Queen’ and ‘Teenage Queen’. Again, the biggest problem lies in the lyrics, which results in both feeling forced and uninspired. With such bangers at the beginning of the album, by the time ‘Bubble Baby’ comes around, the album feels about four songs too long, resulting in it fuzzing out into filler territory by the end .
The songs that succeed, however, really hit the mark. ‘Post Funk’ positions rock and wanderlust front and centre, executed with frenetic energy, displaying this tight band’s musical chops. ‘Critic’ is an exciting example of what kind of tricks Deep Vally have up their sleeve. It’s a raw, take-down of the ease of criticism when nothing is at stake for the person in question. It sincerely voices the sense of fatigue shown earlier in the likes of ‘Smile More’, and reveals enticing possibilities of where they can take their sound in the future.