DEHD – ” Blue Skies “

Posted: May 29, 2022 in MUSIC

There’s something elemental about a trio, take one member away and the whole thing falls over. Chicago’s Dehd are as elemental as it gets, with Jason Balla, Emily Kempf and Eric McGrady laying down guitar, bass and drums at their most minimal. They have a unique chemistry, though, with Balla and Kempf both singing lead on Dehd’s brand of scrappy, occasionally twangy indie rock earworms. You couldn’t lose any of them. They are a band that makes me miss NYC’s Lower East Side club Cake Shop, as their style and spirit would’ve fit right in alongside Crystal Stilts, Box Elders, Hunx & His Punx and other groups who frequented the subterranean venue in the late ’00s.

Following their 2020 breakthrough “Flower of Devotion”, Dehd signed with big indie Fat Possum and “Blue Skies” is their first for the label. The gentle electric piano on “Control” that opens the album make make you might wonder if moving on up has changed their sound, but then they barrel into the feisty, full-throated “Bad Love” and it’s clear this is the same Dehd, just spiffed up a little.

They worked at the same studio as their previous records, with Balla still behind the boards, but they were afforded more time to make this one, as well as to have engineer Craig Silvey (Jarvis Cocker, The Horrors) mix the album. 

The songs are tighter, the drums hit with more oomph, keyboards colour in the edges just a little, and Balla and Kempf’s voices sound just a little sweeter. Dehd haven’t gotten slicker, just more vivid.

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