The Los Angeles based altrock two piece, Deap Vally, comprised of guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Troy and drummer-vocalist Julie Edwards, recently released their new 2016 album, “Femejism,” on Friday, Sept 16 through the Neveda music label.
The album focuses on a variety of rock themes, encompassing roots in blues, funk and punk rock all smashed together in an alternative package of heavy chords and piercing vocals.
The concept is centered on the discrepancies of modern womanhood, especially as female musicians, and uses liberation and independence as a motif throughout the album.
After releasing their 2013 album, “Sistronix,” a raw and lofi blues based album, on Island Records, they took a three year hiatus. They returned in early 2016 with the single “Royal Jelly,” the first track from “Femejism,” and promptly left Island Records.
After leaving the constriction of the big music world, they began working with producer Nick Zeiner, the guitarist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and were able to push past the expectations and restrictions that come with making “popular” music, to begin making the music they wanted to make.
Through this, “Femejism” branches new horizons for Deap Vally, stretching into sub genres showcased on tracks like “Post Funk” and “Grunge Bond.” It will take them off the list of “related artists” to the The Black Keys, a popular blues duo from Akron Ohio, and will put them in their own category known simply as Deap Vally.
The opening track, “Royal Jelly,” features pounding guitar chords by Troy, which are greatly complimented by a spaced out, but driving drum line from Edwards, bringing to listeners a just catchy enough package of hard alternative rock.
According to consequenceofsound.net, an online music publication, the song focuses on the follies of female sexuality and points out the double standards for men and women when it comes to sex.
Through this theme the band is usually pegged as kick-ass.
“It’s not a surprising or inaccurate adjective for a band that’s proud to sing about the importance of the hustle and condemn predatory men while asserting women’s sexual independence” Karen Gween, stated in her album review via consequenceofsound.net.
“Smile More,” the sixth track on the album, reverts to the blues themes from their previous album, “Sistronix.” Through lyrical style, it showcases a heavy punk spin on the sound creating an epic dynamic between instrumentation and lyrics.
The song is about the expectation women face in daily life, and the expectations they face as female musicians. After the release of their 2013 album, critics focused their interviews on their personal stance in Feminism, the social movement, rather than on their literal music.
Although both Troy and Edwards are feminists, they felt as though they were expected to focus their music on this political ideology for the mere fact that they are women.
In “Smile More” Troy sings, “And yes, I am a feminist but that isn’t why I started doing this and sometimes I am full of bitterness but I am trying to work through this.”
It was through this experience of being confined into a singular box as a feminist artist that the title, “Femejism,” was coined.
The seventh track on the album, “Critic,” goes deeper into this negative theme of critics and the influence they have on musicians. Troy sings “Everyone is a fucking critic, everyone is a fucking cynic.”
Here, she is focusing on the powers of judgement and the expectations society has for its members. The song begins with soft, almost doo-wop like riffs, combined with soft and course lyrics from Troy.
Eventually the song grows into fuller low-fi version, and does not feature any drums, but features a echoey and chilling motif of the line “Everyone is a fucking critic, everyone is a fucking cynic.”
Deap Vally’s 2016 album, “Femejism,” features 13 tracks and spans the length of 49 minutes.
The album features a breakthrough in musical genre surrounding a complex and deep style in rock for Deap Vally, and ultimately, will take them to even grander horizons in music for the future.
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