A recording really needs to walk the walk when it claims full length status at only seven songs. Just slipping under the half hour mark at 28 minutes, The Deadly Deaths debut record somehow manages to nail it. From the second Bury It pumps through the speakers, I'm impressed with how a decidedly minimalist three-piece group (no bass) manage such a full synth pop sound. It's a pop sound that defies such a gloomy moniker as The Deadly Deaths - enchantingly delayed guitar sparingly layered over 8-bit video console-esque synth work. Drummer Bevan Galbraith keeps things appropriately unshowy, slotting perfectly into the mix amongst guitarist Nick Feisst and Tuhua Mutu on synth with their harmonised tri-vocal delivery, The Deadly Deaths remind of a stripped-back, yet more enchanting Dandy Warhols at their most serious. The positively upbeat See The World is certainly an album highlight with its bass-heavy synth stabs and swelling guitar delay. And not only do The Deadly Deaths have a great sound and fundamentally great songs - the quality of the recording is terrific. They're sure to impress with such a sterling debut.
- Chris Leggett
Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and of course Dunedin all get their regular share of the NZ Music limelight but poor old Hamilton is more often than not left in the cold (The Datsuns being an obvious exception to this rule). So it was with great pleasure and more than a little bit of a surprise when this little gem was released. The Waikato is back on the national musical map with this trio's wonderful debut self titled release.
Shunning all current musical trends in favour of creating their own sound, this 3-piece combines varied and unlikely influences to come up with a smooth blend of laidback melodic indie pop - aptly self-describing their sound as "restrained indie-synth-pop". There are some Pinback moments here, with a melodic multi-vocal delivery but with throbbing a synth bass and almost slacker cool that brings to mind The Dandy Warhols or The Earlies' most recent effort.
Opener 'Bury It' already has a snazzy video doing the rounds and 'Half-Time Double-Team' is an obvious candidate for next hit single - chilled out, effortless pop perfection. Elsewhere there are some nicely dubbed-out Pink Floyd moments, like the closing track 'Salty' which ends up sounding like Jakob jamming with Salmonella Dub - not a bad combo at all!
An impressive debut and one that would have no trouble shining on the international stage. On a superficial note, it's great to hear an independent release with such classy production as well as an eye-catching sleeve design. Kiwi release of the year so far? Highly recommended.
Rip It Up
The Deadly Deaths are a synth-pop three-piece from Hamilton and this self-titled release is their debut album. It's a seven-track collection of quite restrained but melodic electro pop. The common theme throughout is the distinct basslines, Nick Feisst's whisper voice and the subtle backing vocals from Tuhua Mutu and Bevan Galbraith. While the two singles, "Half-time Double-Team" and "See The World" are eloquently written, bright and simple pop tunes, my favourite song on the record is "Salty". It's the most sonic with the dreamy, sparse, electronic bed offering a powerful finish to the album. It's an all-round nice package with tasteful songwriting and imaginative artwork as well.
- Joe McAlpine
Hamilton's Deadly Deaths - Nick Feisst, Bevan Galbraith and Tuhua Mutu - first came to my attention when a mate caught them on tape at A Camp Low Hum and sent it to me with the subject line WOW! It was a budget recording of their single, Bury It, but it captured the spirit of these reserved indie synth popsters well. The Deadly Deaths are not the sort of band to smack you in their head. Instead, they prefer to tiptoe up on you and infiltrate the radio random in you head with their mesmerising soft harmonies. This is their debut, and I'm sure it won't be the last we hear of them. Highlights include: Half-Time Double-Team, See the World and Salty. Long live the Deaths.
- Vicki Anderson
New Zealand Musician
This restrained indie synth-pop trio's debut album delivers more than its title suggests. The seven tracks are a lovely collection of warm vocals laid on top of explored guitar and synth tunes, held together by a soft yet steady kick and snare. Residing in and around Hamilton, the band recorded their album just in time for release at their well-received performance at indie music Camp A Low Hum. The joint vocal efforts of Tuhua Mutu and Bevan Glabraith provide us with the melancholy vocals that sit well on the thick synth-filled backing. Those vocals can bring down the potential party vibes of songs like Bury It, however if you're after something a little shoe gazey yet upbeat then you should enjoy this album. A high point for me is the ten seconds of unaccompanied layered vocals at the end of the second single Half-Time Double-Team. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band. Demonstrating a fine array of talents both musically and technically, the DDs have provided themselves a fantastic kick start along a music path begging to be continued down.
- Roxie Haines
The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Deadly Deaths formed from the ashes of two of Hamilton's more interesting anti-rock groups of recent times, Dead Pan Rangers and Nimbus. So, unsurprisingly, the group tread the same "restrained indie-pop" style of their previous outfits. The Dead Pan Rangers' drummer, Bevan Galbraith, has hooked up with ex- Nimbus dudes, Tuhua Mutu (synthesiser/vocals) and Nick Feisst (guitar/vocals) - so obvious, it had to happen. What we get is a seven-track album that could be a tribute to The Dead Pan Rangers - the same sparse mumbled vocals and economical, effects-laden sound all combine to good effect. Songs like Bury It, Half-time Double Team and the radio single See The World should get them some attention around student radioland. If the creeping sound of a quiet storm is what your music palette is yearning for, free of the screaming rockisms, here it is, offered by some of the local scene's quiet achievers.
- Kerry Cooper
If this New Zealand trio sounds deliciously like Pinback, it's less because these three are miming that crew and more that they agree with its project. And it is a really good project: parsing postrock's mathy shuffles and patient drums for those of us who wish they'd get to the melody.
At camp A Low Hum, I found myself hoisted in the air by a rather good looking young man. Back down on the ground, we partied the night through. He was charming, confident yet unpretentious, amusing and possessed an understated coolness.
So, how surprised I was to receive his press package - I didn't even know he was in a band. Ten more points. His band, The Deadly Deaths, are a great reflection of how I interpreted him from that night.
He, Tuhua Mutu, on synth and vocals, with Nick Feisst on guitar and vocals and Bevan Galbraith on drums formed the band in 2006 in Hamilton, and their debut self tilted, self produced album is self proclaimed "restrained-indie-synth-pop".
"Restrained" as in no over killed fuzz guitars, no wailing, no abrasive 'get your party on' synths, no tortured artist vocals and a lack of instrumental competitiveness. Instead, The Deadly Deaths produce soothing harmonies and poignant lyrics, complementary synth and guitar and controlled, driving drums.
Upon first listen, I found there wasn't much variation with the tracks, but given time, it is a 'grower': the more I hear it, the deeper I fall for it. Half-time 'Double Team' is a standout, vocally somewhat de-rivative of introspective-leaning Dandy Warhols, and the synth leads the way towards Air.
Throughout the tracks, the guitar is generally quite subtle, at times psychedelic, such as on 'Easy Come, Easy Go' and 'Deadline', paying homage to one of their influences, Pink Floyd.
The song structures are rather similar, with the harmonies often chilling, drumming simplistic, vocals dreamily distant (a reflection on some of the lyrical content), much of it subtly catchy - far from the cheesy synth pop of some of The Deadly Deaths' contemporaries.
I highly recommend The Deadly Deaths, and not just due to Tuhua's entertainment value; this album is perfect for late night 'chilling out' and definitely one of my favourites of the year to date.
- Stacey Knott
Although the name doesn't suggest it, The Deadly Deaths debut album is soothing and articulate, like a pre planned walk in the park with a close friend or relative. I find myself subconsciously listening to this album, but moments like the whaling guitar in 'Deadline' really capture your attention.
It's a nice surprise, like a gold coin under your pillow, to hear a man so in control of a synth line without making a video game out of it. The guitars compliment the synths so much so I was in question to whether they played guitar at all, but it was so.
The Deadly Deaths are like a pair of pants from an opshop that fit properly. They are rare, and you had to search for them, but when you found them you were pretty happy.
'Salty' is my favourite because it develops its depth until the end without it becoming a prog rock piece, and the synth at the end is killer.
A debut album with this much depth to it means these guys are a pretty exciting prospect for the future. Deadly.
- Craig Johnson