Deep Sleep sound like 1980's LA hardcore. A good example is the dual vocals of “Alone with You,” but with twenty-one songs in twenty-five minutes, all the songs are pretty interchangeable. It’s fast, sloppy, and underdeveloped. After my first listen, I learned that Three Things at Once is a compilation of the band’s three EPs thus far, which makes sense regarding the lack of cohesiveness of the record and gradual increase in melody as the record progresses. Here I was, thinking it was just an ode to the early ‘80s nihilistic tendency to eschew form.
The structure of the record is its biggest problem. It may be a compilation of three EPs, but it sounds as if it’s a collection of singles, with clear starts and stops between each song, and it all sounds pretty much the same. It might as well be on shuffle, and when the thirty-five seconds of “Sick Sick Boredom” has run to its abrupt end, the needle keep spinning in confused silence.
What Deep Sleep does right is anger and energy. If I’d heard this at nineteen I would have loved it, with Tony Pence’s stooped over, running in circles, mic twirling vocal style and the three-chord guitars that meander just often enough to keep things interesting. Deep Sleep mimics their influences, but the songs hold together a little better than most 1980's hardcore, which always seemed to deconstruct before each song had run its course. The lyrics are simple and to the point. An example being “Screwed,” which is written in rhyming couplets, including the refrain: “Now you’re screwed / Laughing at you.” The songs are short, fast, and over before you’ve had time to think about it.
On the microphone, it’s primarily Pence, but as the record plays, more backing vocals appear and there are a couple of trade-offs among the twenty-one tracks. It maintains the 80's feel, but the melodies also help give the band a more consistent energy.
While I’m sure their shows are a lot of fun, Deep Sleep sound like a band aping their influences instead of creating anything new. I get the feeling these songs would sound a lot better listening to the individual EPs rather than as a collection. It’s not bad, it’s just not really attention grabbing either.
6.5 / 10
Posted July 28, 2013, 11:21 a.m.
The ever-growing Fest 12 line-up has added Luco, J. Robbins, Tim Kasher, Deep Sleep, Whiskey & Co., Half Hearted Hero, Drag the River, and more to the roster that now features ...
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