The Deadline Shakes’ new album, Zealots establishes the band as an energetic and creative band that is not afraid to experiment.
Opener ‘Bright Spot in a Bad Year’ commences with acoustic guitar and harmonising vocals, which gradually builds into an energetic pop track that also features an electric guitar solo and folk influences – opening the album in an enthusiastic and optimistic way; several tracks throughout the album continue this style (‘Sweeten The Deal’ and ‘A Little Waiting While’).
However, ‘Slipping From Your Heart’ and ‘When Will I Ever Learn’ openly move away from this positive feel, exploring heartbreak and sadness, each in different styles.
‘Slipping From Your Heart’ begins slowly and reflects the lyrical focus of the track however, similar to the album’s opening, it builds into a very over-the-top pop track.
Yet, ’When Will I Ever Learn’ is a very stripped back ballad featuring solely female vocals and reflects, much more accurately, the focus of the lyrics – that of sorrow and disappointment, coming as a surprise after some very lively and upbeat material.
This is something that reappears throughout the album, as there are several tracks that deal with difficult lyrical themes, however express them in a variety of musical styles, such as ‘Phonecalls In The Bath’ and ‘You’re Coming With Me’.
Another stands out is ‘Oh How!’, as it features no lyrics, only vocals, which harmonise alongside guitar; compared to the array of sounds we are exposed to throughout the album, this simplistic and relatively bare song offers a break between the beginning and end of the album.
Overall, this is a confident album that showcases The Deadline Shakes ability to create catchy pop tracks using a variety of live instruments, however frequently the vocals appear too intense and exaggerated to suit the music accompanying them.
That said, each track contains a different story and style, both lyrically and musically, which helps make it an intriguing album that will undoubtedly draw fans of both folk and indie/pop.
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Words: Orla Brady