So Recordings (label)
18 November 2022 (released)
18 November 2022
There’s something in the air.
In May this year Simon Reynolds wrote an article for Tidal titled ‘Speak-sing me a song’ in which he outlined the current swathe of UK groups who abjure from full-throttled vocal theatrics and larynx-stretched vexings and instead address, profess and confess droll observations from regional conurbations, parochial sprechgesang of dialectical dialects. Thus spoke protagoniste!
Citing critically and (crucially commercially) rising groups such as Dry Cleaning, Wet Leg, Yard Act and Black Country, New Road Reynolds argues that the mix of directly delivered deadpan-rallies with abrasive experimentally post-punk surround-sounds (arguably influenced by Mark E. Smith and The Fall; street-beat-poet-all John Cooper Clarke and Ian Dury’s Cockernese-ups) along with ‘reading-the-riot’ acts like Sleaford Mods continue to enrich the creative continuum of these isles’ artistic endeavours.
Free from tech-treated tonsil-tearing and faux-motional shout-pourings of glottal-stop pop, these are the varied voices of malcontent, fortified mortifications sick to the back teeth of societal stasis, bored rigid by the evils of banality and enraged by the entrenched elitism that begets eternal inequality. This is an all-out assault on the nation’s pop-psyche, determined to rouse the slumbered from their spectacle-seduced stupor. Wake up, YOU, it’s an indisputable dawning!
Into this bray step Yorkshire-cum-Big Smoke sextet DEADLETTER (Zac Lawrence – dextrous-vox; George Ullyott – thump-plucker; Alfie Husband – skin-hitter; Will King – string-riven thing; Sam Jones – axe-elevator; Poppy Richler – Saxual squealing) on debut five-track E.P. ‘Heat!’ (out now on So Recordings, produced by Elliot Deinrich).
‘Opener ‘Weights’ deftly deploys Television’s nagging ‘Marquee Moon’ thrum-strum augmented by some choice-voice vagaries from Lawrence, articulating the struggles of everyday souls, invoking Greek boulder-pusher Sisyphus and his enforced suffering from the gods above. Top down, ground down, reality-bites of rites.
The dark-pop ‘Madge’s Declaration’ channels Madonna’s 1984 manifesto of conspicuous consumption ‘Material Girl’ with an updated decrying of a ‘catalogue utopia’ and the stark realisation that you have ‘shoes, but no soul’. ‘Binge’ is a discodified deconstruction that deals with the travails/travels along the roads of excess, the appetite to self-destruct, the desire to acquire a cul-de-sac to spiritual ruin.
The closer, the five-minute state of disunion address, ‘Zeitgeist’ takes the pulse, feels the temperature, and dispiritingly shakes its head towards the primate-climate beyond the doorstep. Sonically this is a post-punk doom-funk par excellence. Richler’s Lora Logic-like squawking aiding and abetting the bleak prognoses.
The fashion-world has already ‘dug’ its cloth-eared claws into DEADLETTER (the group were at Paris Fashion Week, attending the CELINE menswear S/S 23 launch and playing live at Hedi Slimane’s personal after-party, no less) so catch them immediate, help prevent them becoming ensnared by the ‘pop-culture connoisseurs’, the blognoscienti, the dead-end trendsetters and ensure they remain the preserve of the dreamers and schemers. It’s in YOUR hands.
Be prepared, DEADLETTER are the storm coming