Since being released on 21st April, the brilliant album Mesma by Deadlights hasn’t been far away from my ears. “Preconceptions” from Mesma is our Track Of The Day today.
Dylan, Tynan, Josh, and Sean have a sound with Deadlights that I can’t get enough of. It was only with the passing of Chris Cornell that I realised that a lot of the time signature bending and unpredictable song structure that I loved about Soundgarden’s music is also what I love about Deadlights’ music. There are endless songs which you already know from the beginning where it’s going, what it’ll sound like, and what you’ll probably ‘see’ along the way. Ears that love music crave much more than that, and Deadlights do the ‘much more than’ thing exceptionally well.
The third track on Mesma, “Preconceptions”, is a perfect example of this. It has an easy steady rock kind of intro, which if you don’t know Deadlights you’d expect could be part of some kind of ballad, which would sound great. But Deadlights turn the whole thing sideways, and what’s easy and steady is now turning into a state of alarm.
“AM I AVOIDING MY DESTINY?!” we hear screamed at us, with a concerned riff looping along with it. A drumbeat kicks in that sets off nervous alarm centres within us. And so here you are; already ENGAGED in this song. Not just sitting back for that ballad to wash by you while you do something else. You’ve no idea what’s going to happen, do you?!
Soon there’s a bass drop and we’re falling, with a drum pummelling us at the bottom of it, and we’re asked to:
“Try to keep your wits about.
It gets difficult when you doubt
Everything and everyone,
And you won’t be outdone.”
The awkwardness of this.. the stutteringness of this.. it literally feels like trying to do something and not being able to. Picture climbing a mountain that falls apart in your hands and you can’t grip anything. It’s almost frustrating being in the thick of it; this stretching and dropping and drum static.
So when they hit you with a clean chorus that’s clear, harmonic, even and easy, you have a ‘wow’ moment at that stark difference, and take a breath in this sweet ‘bath’ of rock.
But we’re only halfway through. In the next verse the stop start chaotic craziness amps up even further. It’s impressive with its angles and edges, every band member going hard at it, and feels like it builds up toward teetering on an edge high up above..
Before diving back into the clean chorus, with a teasing of combined vocals. You thought they were going to do another chorus, didn’t you? NOPE. It’s a completely different part of the song, where the pre-chorus vocal (see the quote above) is sung, along with new lyrics sung at the same time by Dylan.
So this is what Deadlights is to me, and what Mesma is to me: A collection of songs that’s an unpredictable and exciting sonic adventure.