As a support act chosen by artists such as British Sea Power, Cherry Ghost and Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadler, Deadwall have kept good company over the last year. Now is the time for the Leeds band to go alone with a new album which, in their words, “treads the line between beauty and brutality”.
‘Blood Orange’ and its tear-stained balladry may not be the most obvious choice for an opener but this is an album which definitely doesn’t follow a set pattern. This first track is an early showcase for Thomas Gourley’s voice of vulnerability, with the arrangement stripped back so it’s largely him and a steel guitar until the crescendo of effects kicks in, or the “Deadwall Of Sound” as they might call it. For those who find the opening a little frail, the raw aggression underscoring the incisive ‘Eyes/White/Shut’ serves as a welcome shot in the arm.
After this impressive opening, the chirpy ‘Two Rakes’ whiffs a little too much of Belle And Sebastian and the angsty ‘My Mori’ comes across as somewhat overwrought. Thankfully, it’s largely good news after that. ‘The Great Beast’ may be another piano ballad but it’s a warm and very touching piece, given further character by its vintage arrangement and another captivating performance from Gourley who seems very much at home with the more sedate numbers. Later on, ‘Daffolion’ flies the flag for lovelorn indie rock (“a weed is a flower in the wrong place) and the nagging intensity of ‘Brick’ is a refreshingly caustic interruption.
‘Bukimi No Tani’ is an album of curiosity and contrasts which thinks nothing of switching between theatrical and grunge influences. The constant beating heart at the centre of it all is Gourlay; a frontman of great charisma and owner of a heartfelt falsetto. This alone should see Deadwall shed their support billing status sooner rather than later.
Kapowski, Belle And Sebastian