Deep State – Thought Garden
The debut album from Athens, Georgia four-piece Deep State shoots straight for the gut. There is no pretense in their sound. Though they cite influences as broad as Harold Pinter, NFL and dogs, their music is firmly rooted in the lo-fi, slacker rock made popular in the 90s by Pavement and Silver Jews, and currently championed by Ty Segall, Hunx et al. And that's no dig – a read through their lyric sheet is testament to their vaulting ambition – but immediate, no-frills garage rock'n'roll is the order of business here.
And, while the album reeks of slapdash ephemerality, there is definitely something more calculated going on behind the scenes. The tight, punchy cuts (No Idea Pt. II, Death Waltz, Infinitesimals, Heavy Lunch) are carefully split between more reflective, softer tracks (Thought Garden, Nothing Speaks), allowing for respite from the, at times, cacophonous instrumental choices – coming over like Japandroids or Cloud Nothings at their most contemplative. And these songs are catchy, too: Idiot Waster is the best song Parquet Courts never made; a dusty, rollicking journey through a late night walk home.
Deep State try to wring out the sublime from the mundane and, while they don't always hit the mark (sometimes the mundane is just mundane), their style is endearing enough to allow for a couple of missteps. Album closer Urn straddles the fence between cool nonchalance and the sloppiness that can come as a result of not giving enough fucks, perfectly encapsulating this album and band; at times coarse and unpolished, but with enough confidence and creativity to carry it off – you get the sense there are plenty more hooks around the bend.
Listen to: No Idea Pt. II, Idiot Waster
Buy Deep State - Thought Garden on LP/CD from Norman Records