sat 04/04/2020

CD: Deap Vally - Femejism | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Deap Vally - Femejism

CD: Deap Vally - Femejism

Second album from LA's scuzz-blues rock duo proves their first was no flash-in-the-pan

SPLAT!

A couple of months ago the release of “Smile More”, the first song from Deap Vally’s new album, made it clear the female Los Angeles duo hadn’t mellowed. Almost all women hate it when blokes – especially blokes they don’t know – say, “Smile, love, it might never happen.” The song is a snarling response to such inanity. “I don’t want to be your reflection,” runs the chorus, “I don’t need your direction”.

A couple of months ago the release of “Smile More”, the first song from Deap Vally’s new album, made it clear the female Los Angeles duo hadn’t mellowed. Almost all women hate it when blokes – especially blokes they don’t know – say, “Smile, love, it might never happen.” The song is a snarling response to such inanity. “I don’t want to be your reflection,” runs the chorus, “I don’t need your direction”. And if those clunky chancers didn’t get the point: “Everybody trying to tell me what to do/It makes me want to break some shit and sniff some glue.” The song boded well.

Deap Vally’s debut, Sistronix, was one of 2013’s very finest, a storm of dirty blues riffs and raw, female “fuck you” attitude. Happily Femejism – a glorious goof of a title! – takes the best of its predecessor and, with help from co-producer Nick Zinner (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) successfully tries a few new hats on for size. The first couple of songs make it clear Deap Vally have not changed their remit too much: “Royal Jelly” rides in on one of Lindsey Troy’s most contagiously filthy guitar riffs and bursts into a firm femme statement of intent – “If you wanna be queen bee, you’d better start hustlin’” – while “Julian” is addressed to some poor schmuck who’s made the mistake of falling in love with one of them. He's told in no uncertain terms all he’s going to get is a “dance”.

So Sistronix’s Led Zep-meets-Jack White guitar-play is present and correct, but like all great second albums Femejism gives the fanbase what they want while also pushing the sound. “Gonnawanna” initially has something of Bowie about it before becoming a punk-rap epic, “Two Seat Bike” is dipped in girl groups and glam rock, a bit Suzi Quatro, "Critic” starts as a lo-fi ballad before gradually growing into a venomous putdown of trolling bloggers, and “Bubble Baby” pulls their style apart so it’s hanging by a thread to the architecture of Julie Edwards’s astounding drumming.

There’s so much else here. Deap Vally deliver in spades. Femejism is a monster, a scorching, riff-fuelled tonic, a volley of memorable songs that let loose with unfettered rock’n’roll spirit.

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