Album Review: Deep Sleep – “Turn Me Off”

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This is the first thought I had when I first listened to “Turn Me Off”, the debut full-length from Maryland’s DeepSleep:

A little more walking bass and this could be a missing Descendents B-side collection, if they had been listening to a little too much Dag Nasty and Black Flag before releasing it.

And I stick by that sentiment. Vocalist Tony Pence even has a slight Milo Aukerman snarl to his yelling, albeit Pence takes it up a few notches in the aggressive scale.

This is cool though, because honestly there isn’t nearly enough bands doing this kind of punk hardcore anymore. This shit is fun, look no further than the opening track “Live Forever” or the rapid-fire “Be With You” for evidence that DeepSleep in all likelihood kill it live. That’s right folks, this is stage diving music. But it’s not nearly that simple either: “Destroy Everything” which features the band channeling as much “Everything Sucks” as possible is definitely a short-burst of energy but the amount of sweet riffs and tempo’ changes that the band managed to cram into it’s holy-fuck-it’s-not-even-a-minute-long duration is impressive, especially making it sound as concise as they do. The band’s best track however is possibly the absolutely awesome “Head Spins” which features the best guitar work in the entire album as well as sounding like something that isn’t as much Black Flag as it is pure and raging DeepSleep. Close contenders for this title include “Turn Me Off” and “Nothing Inside” which also showcase the firm grasp that the band has on their writing techniques. Too often bands in this genre either write loosely and play even sloppier or they tighten up to tight and constrain the sound. DeepSleep avoid both traps, playing extremely tight but allowing the song to go where it needs to go, controlling it, keeping it in check and not letting it extend any farther than it needs to. Keeping it short, sweet and exciting. Before you know it, the album is over and you’re hitting the repeat button.

However, for all it’s merit DeepSleep’s “Turn Me Off” has a tendency to blend together, which doesn’t allow for a really optimum first listen. Also, the band has an awful knack to write an incredibly tight hook only to never use it again, for example though “Turn Me Off” is a fantastic tune, the intro riff is absolutely money and it’s never featured in the song again. Seriously, what’s up with that? Also, aside from a few songs the band does stray too far into their influences, barely raising a hand among the ocean of bands who sound like other bands. But really I’m just being nit-picky now, “Turn Me Off” is a solid release from a band that I have nothing but faith in. Awesome punk rock for people with short attention spans, get it.



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