Dehd made the right road-trip album for 2020, the 12 months nobody left their dwelling rooms. Amid the overall malaise, the 13 rock songs on Flower of Devotion hit like intravenously delivered exclamation factors, the sound fragile however the spirit indomitable. Their imaginative and prescient of youthful abandon enticed exactly due to its implied distance; Jason Balla’s easy guitars, Eric McGrady’s even less complicated drums, and Emily Kempf’s hairbrush-microphone shout arrived trailing echoes, already receding. The album nonetheless summons that preliminary rush everytime you play it, a small however significant salvo within the dropping battle in opposition to anhedonia.
The difficulty is, now they need to do it once more. Slender perfections like Dehd’s are inclined to blunt themselves on repetition, and it will probably take a peculiar type of nerve to remain the course. However on Blue Skies, they made your best option, which is the one selection: Change nothing. Not one factor. Thread collectively Flowers of Devotion and Blue Skies onto one playlist, hit shuffle, and increase: the ache of distantly-recalled bliss, now double the runtime.
Kempf stays their life drive. Like Julian Casablancas or Sheer Magazine’s Tina Halladay, Kempf’s voice is principally a sequence of rock-star poses transubstantiated into sound-wave type. Watching her dwell, you possibly can almost see all these poses—the raised-fist howl, the heartbroken bleat, the giddy yip—leap from her throat like a procession of CGI unicorns. Her voice is the only component that sparks these tinder-dry rock songs into hearth. McGrady provides a couple of fills this time, however in any other case he nonetheless performs like somebody testing a drum equipment somewhat than taking part in one. Balla’s wispy guitar tone isn’t far faraway from the one employed on the Shaggs’ “My Pal Foot Foot.” Their reserve feels disciplined: They know they’re the night time freeway, so that they let Kempf be the yellow stripes, her phrases strafing previous in flashes of shade and movement.
Highway-trip rock albums are tallied and graded on their provide of enjoyable, catchy lyrics to yell alongside to, and Blue Skies boasts a profusion. Each music options at the least one exclamation level, and most function extra—“Empty in my thoughts!”; “Over kissing strangers, I wish to kiss a good friend!”; “The place we’re going I don’t know/Makes no distinction anymore!” “That is all we get!” They don’t have to resort to singing “doo-doo-doo-bop”—as they do on a music known as “Bop”—as a result of their precise lyrics are catchier. On the only and standout “Unhealthy Love,” Kempf howls, “I used to be a foul love/Now I can get some/I bought a coronary heart filled with, I bought a coronary heart filled with/Re-re-redemption.” What does it imply to be a foul love? Take it and run with it. Mouth the phrases to your reflective floor of selection and check out completely different angles: despairing, confessional, swaggering.