Deafheaven – Sunbather

sunbather 

Released: June 11, 2013 by Deathwish Inc.

 

Trying to describe this album is like explaining a bizarre dream to a friend. It kinda makes sense in your head, but there’s no way words will ever make it clear to someone else. Musically, they sound like an alternative band from the mid-90’s trying to make atmospheric background music for an indy film, writing long passages that lack typical pop song structures but instead focus on moods and aural landscapes. Only heavier. In that way they’re sort of a metal version of Explosions In The Sky (famed for their soundtrack work, most notably “Friday Night Lights”). Then there are the vocals. Oh boy. George Clarke doesn’t sing, he screams. And not in the somewhat coherent “screamo” way, but in the completely incomprehensible manner of the darkest of black metal singers. He sounds in pain, as if he’s being tortured, or conversely is trying to torture his listeners. The juxtaposition of the sounds is pretty amazing, as the music, even at its heavy points, can be kinda soothing, whereas the vocals just scratch and claw at you. In the end what you get is some bizarre mash-up of Pink Floyd or Tool being filtered through Wes Craven’s brain. It’s definitely an experimental sound, which of course explains why it has been universally hailed by critics, ranking as the #1 Heavy Metal album of the year by both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines among others (and also ranked #1 on the Metacritic year-end list as the best reviewed album across all genres). It’s the kind of thing critics trip over themselves to praise because it refuses to follow the rules. As for me, I like it well enough as an occasional mood changer, as the guitar work is really quite excellent. But man, those vocals.

ALBUM RATING: 7.

 

TRACKS

1) Dream House

2) Irresistible

3) Sunbather

4) Please Remember

5) Vertigo

6) Windows

7) The Pecan Tree

 

BAND

George Clarke (V), Kerry McCoy (G), Daniel Tracy (D)

 

Produced by Jack Shirley and Deafheaven

 

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