Deap Vally - Sistrionix [Album]


Sistrionix, the debut album by Los Angeles’ Deap Vally, is a fuzzed-out celebration for rock chicks everywhere. But boys, listen up too! It is good. The duo is comprised of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards, who started Deap Vally after the two met at a needle-working class. They bonded over a shared love for the blues, and have subsequently knitted together a heavy blues-rock sound that is stripped down and straightforward. Produced by Lars Stalfors (The Mars Volta, Matt and Kim), Sistrionix is Troy’s thick guitar tones as the meat of the tracks while Edwards’ banging drums hold an appropriately loose pocket. Listen to this album and you will agree, there is one thing that cannot be denied about Deap Vally - for a couple of girls who like to crochet, they definitely know how to get your head banging.

“Come on everybody, listen up!” shouts Troy with the album’s distorted opening pulse. The first track, ‘End of the World’, doesn’t merely call your attention – it commands it. It introduces us to Troy’s hugely distinct voice, which is bolstered by the songs surprisingly virtuous lyrics. She sings, ‘take a breath now, cause there’s too much name-calling. Tears are falling. Come on take a breath now, cause life’s too short’, before ripping into a chorus riff that would make Dan Auerbach smile.

‘Gonna Make My Own Money’, the band’s debut single, delivers more screaming guitar tone while packing in the best of the rocker-girl attitude that Deap Vally stands for. On ‘Your Love’, Troy pays homage to the pioneer of the garage-rock duo, Jack White, with her octave-fuzz guitar tone, while ‘Raw Material’, demonstrates the band’s capacity to bring new life to the genre. On this song, Troy and Edwards share a haunting vocal arrangement before the duo drop into a brief psychedelic breakdown in the spirit of Led Zeppelin on later songs like ‘Whole Lotta Love’. The album ends with the secret track, ‘Spiritual’, in which Troy and Edwards stray from their hard rock sound, chilling the listener with a soulful vocal performance, accompanied by a single tambourine.

When listening to a new album, I have been conditioned to listen closely for its details, which often contain its distinguishing factors. In the case of Sistrionix, the absence of those nuances forces your attention towards the only thing that really matters here: heavy guitars, loud drums, and powerful vocal performances. Although the songs show little variation, and come off as inchoate or simple at times, by the end of the record, that doesn’t matter one bit. Sistrionix is good, pure rock ‘n’ roll. Crank your stereo for this one. When it comes down to it, it’s an album that really only needs two words to describe it: BAD ASS!

By Mitch Manacek