Started in March, my Albums of the Decade series was based on there being 10 months left in the 10th year of the decade. Each month I look at an album that, for me, has been a musical highlight of the last 10 years. See the first entry here.
“More Deep Cuts” is a perfect example of how the way I discover and listen to music has been unalterably changed in the 00’s. One of the first music blogs I ever read was CokeMachineGlow.com – apparently a bunch of verbose Canadians with nothing better to do than write about music (this was in 2003, remember – way before your granny started her music blog. Twas quite novel at the time…) Their review of the album was enough to get me listening (not to mention the discovery of Santa Clara’s Turn Records. I’d no idea Santa Clara even HAD a music scene…)
With obvious touchpoints being Radiohead and Grandaddy, more recently I’ve found Dee Kesler‘s band to be more akin to Why? or Hood. Doubtless if you like any of these artists, you’ll love this album, but as with most of the artists mentioned above, the creeping sense of claustrophobia and tension is palpable in every track.
From the thermin swoon of “Int #1” to the toy piano clang of highlight “2am”, there’s a continued sense of uneasiness throughout the entire album with Dee’s deadpan yet soothing delivery remaining a constant. Their cover of “I Can’t Get Next To You” remains one of the eeriest re-imaginings of any song I’ve ever heard – although it appeared on their 2006 Monkey Vs. Shark EP the track is a testament to their ability to create incredible moods.
What of course helps to maintain this continuity is that the album is without a musical flaw from the first track to the last. Each song melds into each other over the course of the 40-odd minutes, never once jarring the listener out of the flow of the musical narrative creating a seamless Long Player.
As with other “Albums of the Decade”, More Deep Cuts is extraordinarily intricate – as though each and every piece of this enormously complex jigsaw was mulled over until it was placed in exactly the right place – the swelling choral voices on “Ave Grave”. The words in Cloisterphobia “place your hat/cock-eyed upon your balding head/and dance a little dance/to celebrate” are placed absolutely perfectly to set up the song’s thunderous conclusion.
Of course, this kind of intricacy clearly came at a price. It took nearly 3 years for Thee More Shallows to produce their sophomore effort – but instead of an overthought-out and lifeless record that you’d expect from such a long gestation period, More Deep Cuts is easily one of the more re-listenable records of the last ten years.
And the care and attention obviously paid to the creation of this fantastic piece of music is evident in every single note. Despite a rather lack-lustre live performance, when a band creates a record that effects me this deeply, it creates the kind of loyalty that’s not easily swayed.