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Deep Time - Deep Time

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Artist: Deep Time

Album: Deep Time

Label: Hardly Art

Review date: Jul. 9, 2012

In their recent Listed feature for Dusted, Deep Time’s Jennifer Moore included Pet Sounds as a recent touchstone. While the Wilsons influence on her music may not register directly, it makes sense in the context she mentions it in — the importance of song structure. This newfound focus on the finer points of song construction are readily apparent here, in her and bandmate Adam Jones’s initial offering under their newly christened Deep Time moniker. A couple of the songs here have been reworked from earlier versions, when the group was still a three-piece operating under the YellowFever moniker. The songs themselves haven’t been radically transformed per se, but the difference in the way they come across here is startling.

For every band that manages to get over the initial hump of imitation and influence to eventually find itself, there are a hundred that don’t. The victors in this arduous quest are generally the persistent chefs, willing to go back to the cutting board and slave in the face of fresh, unmitigated kitchen disasters. Sometimes it’s finding the right seasonings that will really ignite a dish — sometimes it’s taking them out. On a band level, this sometimes comes with a shift in line-up, and it could be that slimming down to a two-piece gave Deep Time pause, to strip its songs down to their raw essentials and find out what they were made of, to find out what’s working and what’s holding them back. Diving deep into music like The Beach Boys can do that, too. Whatever the catalyst, the duo have clearly figured a few things out in the last year or two — like how to make a dynamic record where everything works exactly as it should.

If anything, Deep Time sounds fuller now than ever; obviously overdubbing goes a long way in these affairs, but the songs themselves are kinetic and filled-out in ways that eclipse anything Moore and Jones had done prior. Much of the dynamic tension that makes these songs work so well comes from the seemingly intuitive push and pull that Wilson and Jones have dialed into — their rhythmic interplay calls to mind the herky-jerky joy of The Raincoats and The Monochrome Set, or a maximalist Young Marble Giants. The last decade has been littered with music trying to emulate that transformative moment in the early-’80s when post-punk, art-rock, and the influence of non-European musics were forming the nucleus of what labels like Rough Trade, Factory and Independent Project would plant their flag on. Since then, despairingly few bands have managed to carry this tradition forth in new and compelling ways (Quix*o*tic and Electrelane come to mind) that will stand on their own in the decades to come.

Add Deep Time to this short list. They’ve created something special here; equally steeped in the past and of the moment; breathing its own peculiar air, but with pop instincts strong enough to appeal to someone with no reference point for this at all. Welcoming and unique, this is one of the best debuts in recent memory.

By Jon Treneff

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