Album Review: Deadaires – “Deadaires”

You see it often. A band member leaves in amicable or acrimonious circumstances and just like that they’re gone. A half remembered face on an album inner sleeve and a passing mention on their Wikipedia page, as the band rumbles on without them. For the departing band member it can be an opportunity to pursue other projects but it can also be a total leap of faith. One that can result in a musician left to fill the void of playing music and touring the world. This is the situation that Andrew Seward found himself in. After 12 years as bassist for Against Me!, Seward relocated to Florida with no grand plan or aspirations. However, the urge to play and create music kept bubbling to the surface. Fortunately, he soon found 2 like-minded musical brothers in Ryan Murphy and Jeremy Rogers. Together, they rediscovered the alchemy of musicians who fully understand each other and, during lunch breaks and on weekends, the 3 of them wrote and recorded the music that forms this, their self-titled debut album. The result is a collection of gritty, post-punk songs that sees the band members successfully strike out anew and forge their own clear identity.

Although there is no one particular theme that binds the whole thing together, the album works as a singular piece that ebbs and flows. “Start The Rotors” provides a suitably moody and atmospheric opening as a the sound of a talking clock is layered over oscillating synths. It gently builds until the solid and unhurried beat of “Constance Demario” kicks in. It’s a mid tempo number that recalls heart-on-their-sleeve rockers The Hold Steady.  It has a similar barely held together, ramshackle feel with frontman Ryan Murphy’s vocals bearing more than a passing resemblance to Craig Finn. It’s a brave opening as it teases you into the album rather than wrenching you through the door. That comes with the post-punk strut of “New York Was A Bad Idea”. Built on a hip-shaking groove, it highlights the band’s chemistry with each member playing to the other’s strengths. It’s supremely confident and would have fit perfectly on Coliseum’s more post-punk “Anxiety’s Kiss” album.  “Poor You Poor Me” is another rowdy, knockabout punk song that sounds like a band with fire in their bellies.

The band gives the listener a chance to pause for breath on the sparse “Hideout”. It’s a world weary, atmospheric piece with some epic bass work reminiscent of Paul Simonon from The Clash. This is not the work of a youthful, naive band. This is the work of an experienced group of musicians who trust their instincts as musicians. “Exit Polls” is a more upbeat, punk number reminiscent of The Bouncing Souls at their most raucous. The band are confident enough in what they’re doing to balance the up-tempo numbers with slower, moodier pieces such as “Time Ain’t”, “Rosemary” and “Boom Boom”. These songs aren’t reliant on huge riffs, but find the band slowly building atmosphere with more restrained playing; expertly using the space between the notes. The effect is that when the song does take off, it soars as on the epic outro to “Rosemary”.

Lyrically, this is, at times, a dark album but not suffocatingly so. Murphy comes across as an experienced yet often apathetic frontman. There are occasions where he alludes to much more serious issues such as on lines like “Always push my demons down” on the slow burning “Boom Boom”. Nevertheless, the tone steers clear of melancholy, with Murphy able to strike a balance between the darker subject matter and more sardonic and wittier lyrics. Lines such as “I want to be your best friend” and the closing “Tell me one more time how hard you work”, on “Poor You, Poor Me” drip with sarcasm. It’s a clear sign that these are the words of an experienced musician with plenty to say.

Through finding each other the 3 members of Deadaires have discovered a rare musical connection allowing them to create a purposeful, meaningful album. In many respects the album acts as a cathartic experience for the band as it sees each member finding a place to express themselves. On the whole, the band has been successful in what they set out to do. They don’t  try to be anything other than 3 guys playing for the love of music. It just goes to show that leaving a successful band can just be the beginning.

4/5 Stars

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