Words by Carly Gibbs
It’s been four strong years since Brisbane post-hardcore quartet, Deadlights released their first album ‘Mesma’ onto the unsuspecting masses. Playing alongside Parkway Drive, Every Time I Die, The Devil Wears Prada, Thy Art Is Murder and Polaris, being signed by Greyscale Records, and clocking up over 1.5 million streams on Spotify are just some of the notches they’ve acquired on their proverbial belts since then. The highly anticipated, sophomore album ‘Uncanny Valley’ is out now and you best buckle up because this record is thick with apocalyptic lyrical content, obscure time signatures, relentless heavy and exquisite melody.
Where to start if not the beginning, The Uncanny Valley gently opens with twinkling electronic keys and a menacing overtone, a little like the intro from The Twilight Zone. Dylan Davidson has said “it could be magical, but something is off” when describing the concept behind ‘The Uncanny Valley’ and it a perfectly fitting description for the feeling you get whilst listening to this intro. There is a hauntingly ethereal quality to Tynan Reibelt’s voice with nuances that remind me of a mix of Maynard and Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries which sounds completely off the wall but it actually creates a really exciting sound. You don’t have to be religious to feel the intoxication of a melancholic hymn, praying for salvation or for complete eradication and this has the same effect. It takes a heavier turn half way through with Reibelt, Davidson, Sean Prior and Josh O’Callaghan building intensity to a crescendo and straight into Schedule 1. Machine gun drumming furiously hammering throughout, Davidson vehemently screams lyrical content about overcoming addictions and bad habits. “Purposefully numb to new sensation. Can’t feel the pain if you’re sedated”. Incredibly hooky and probably hits home more than some would like to admit.
The King of Nowhere is slightly more down tempo but no less hooky. The back and forth between Davidson and Reibelt is flawless. Considering they have two very different styles in their vocal delivery, they could indeed be one person singing both parts as they have a similar tone, one being an extension of the other which makes it emphatically cohesive.
Onto their newly released single Born of a Lie and it is carnage from the get go. Persistent brutality from Davidson, Prior, O’Callaghan and Reibelt’s guitar until he melodically interjects for a bleak but soaring chorus, one that feels surely so familiar to us all in this suffocating technological age. I dare you not to bang your head to this bounce!
Contact begins in a down tempo way with a little bit of an Architects flair in Davidson’s scream. A traditionally punk drum beat picks up the tempo but only momentarily before returning to that slower pace we heard at the beginning of the track.
Electrodome is stripped back, framing the vocals with just a drum beat, minimal electronics and guitar. The verses feel intensely venomous, abruptly stopping short of hooky, ascending territory, allowing the chorus to shine. They have perfected the balance between the two. “It’s getting closer, mass hysteria”. Lyric, “I can see the future and I choose to ignore it” is repeated like a mantra before moving onto track seven, aptly named; [I see the future]. An electronic spoken word interlude, complete with ominous, echoing drums and synths.
Echo Chamber begins with an ambient commotion of whispered voices and is in the vein of a slow ballad. Emotive, memorable and straight to the heart. They clearly have an extreme talent which starkly reminds me of the lack of my own whilst I’m trying to hit those high notes in my car. Luckily Sudden Life/Sudden Death is up next which switches it back down to a lower octave, allowing me to sing along at levels that aren’t only heard by dogs.
Just like the songs title, this song brings sudden life and then a sudden death with a sharp clean cut to silence at the end of the track.
Pythia with a swaggering bassline and I can feel those big bulbous vibrations throughout my whole body. The stomp is behemoth. The part in the middle where it is stripped back to just atmospheric synths and vocals is amazing. The notes that Reibelt has chosen are interesting and engaging and I feel like there is a push and pull between good and evil. Danger is imminent but the beauty of that voice has me mesmerised. And then OOF! Davidson drops in like a fucking 10 tonne sledge and smashes me directly in the face.
Frozen over is perfect example of how Deadlights are elevated above many of their peers in similar genres. It is so emotive and full and angrily beautiful. My heart feels like it is filled simultaneously with nihilistic dread and awe of the beauty in this World that is exemplified in music. Deadlights are highly skilled musicians, there is absolutely no question as to how talented these guys are.
As fantastic as ‘Mesma’ is, this album feels like they’ve pushed themselves a little further with their creativity and like themselves the music has matured. It’s an age-old sales pitch; If you loved the first album you are going to love this one! – but in this case it is entirely true! Deadlights are deft hands at playing with opposing dynamics to create tension, drama and depth and it fuses itself to your core. I can’t wait to catch them on the Vagabond Tour when they support Polaris in the coming months.
You can buy tickets HERE
THU JUN 10 | WOOL EXCHANGE, GEELONG VIC
FRI JUN 11 | THE YORK, MT EVELYN VIC
SAT JUN 12 | PIER LIVE, FRANKSTON VIC
SUN JUN 13 | COMMERCIAL HOTEL, SOUTH MORANG
WED JUN 16 | EDGE HILL TAVERN, CAIRNS QLD
THU JUN 17 | MAGNUMS, AIRLIE BEACH QLD
FRI JUN 18 | HARVEY ROAD TAVERN, GLADSTONE QLD
SAT JUN 19 | ELEVEN DIVE BAR, SUNSHINE COAST QLD
SUN JUN 20 | COOLANGATTA HOTEL, GOLD COAST QLD
WED JUN 23 | THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA ACT
THU JUN 24 | PANTHERS, PENRITH NSW
FRI JUN 25 | CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE NSW
SAT JUN 26 | UNI BAR, WOLLONGONG NSW
With thanks to Good Intent