by Dalvin Aboagye (@dalvinandhobbes)
In the bustling spaces of DIY scenes across the country, it can be difficult to make a name for yourself among the daily onslaught of sound emerging from the most unlikeliest of locales. The storm has struck. The barrage of new acts popping up every day makes long-term notoriety that much more of a stretch. The torrential downpour left in its wake manages to erode even the most rigid of talent. At the end of the day, the only reliable way to weather the worst of it is simply to remain confident.
For indie rock group Deeper, that confidence had to be garnered over time. Four years to be exact. Since their loose formation in 2014, much of their existence has been spent sharpening their skills to a fine point. Musically, the signature of their brand of rock can trigger déjà vu at times. The post punk base with flavorings of pop punk added to the mix is a welcomed assortment. With a consistent sound and a no-frills approach to presentation, the Chicago quartet’s self-titled debut album Deeper proves the hard work has finally paid off.
Across nine deafening tracks, they’re able to stop us in our tracks just long enough to give their elevator pitch. It’s brief, but incredibly informative in the short amount of time it has. On the introduction track “Pink Showers,” the subtle dance between guitarists Nic Gohl and Mike Clawson takes center stage as the two push and pull against each other. The arrangement of the guitars remains a strong suit throughout. A healthy amount of intrigue is peppered around all the while, never crossing the line over to the experimental.
Subsequent songs like “Should Be,” “Message Erased,” and “Feels,” cling to this formula religiously. The exchange between the guitars, the eccentric drones of Gohl and the commendable work of drummer Shiraz Bhatti creates cohesion you’d expect from a sophomore outing as opposed to a debut. On a particularly stressful night after a particularly stressful day, you can put on your earphones, crank up the volume and curb your early morning anxieties for a bit. At times you’re coaxed into meditation, reevaluating, as opposed to reliving, your feelings.
“Transmogrification” — defined as a magical transformation — lives up to its namesake, briefly steering the album in a different direction. The in-your-face guitar medley is subdued for a somber mood. “Pavement” keeps the momentum going with the drums taking on an almost heartbeat-like rhythm that’ll have you feeling some type of way. Deeper revels in the extensive range of human emotion, attempting to touch on all of them in a genuine display of empathy.
Despite their only other releases being the EPs and singles released in preparation for Deeper, the group has managed to carve a niche for itself in otherwise marked territory. Their past shows have found themselves venturing well outside the bounds of the Windy City. Falling towards the familiar has benefited them well here, but room for growth is still present. To sound as self-assured as they do now is only going to help fill in those gaps.