Deeper's Self-Titled Debut Brings All the "Feels"
By: Carly Tagen-Dye
Uncertainty is something that is hard to avoid these days. Whether from a global or personal standpoint, these emotions tend to build up until there is nothing else we can do but, somehow, let them out. Chicago band, Deeper is no stranger to that. The group, comprised of Nic Gohl (vocals/guitar), Mike Clawson (guitar), Shiraz Bhatti (drums) and Drew McBride (bass), have bounced up and down, with forming the group on a whim to the self-inflicted struggle of creating music in the first place. Their self-titled album, released last May, however, is a confident and knowing debut. Two years in the making, Deeper is a proclamation of this rising group’s emergence into the Chicago scene, and in the genre-bending, self-declared sound one as well.
A first glance at the LP’s song title provides a sense of both understanding and dissociation. Embedded amongst their infectious beats is a sense of anxiety - about the world and one’s relationship with it. “Transmogrified” opens with haunting wind chimes and distorted vocals, before delving into a more beach-rock style. The need for a reminder that the speaker is alive, hoping for a promise of feeling, makes this track heartbreakingly relatable. “Taxi”, which is about a taxidermist ripping the speaker open, highlights the desire to step away from ourselves for a while. As Gohl sings, “So cut me up/I can’t complain/I love it”, we see that there is pleasure in escaping our minds. It’s only human, after all, to wish to be someone else from time to time.
That’s not to say that these messages are entirely a bad thing. For Deeper, the messages intertwined within their lyrics are justifiable. As Gohl explained in a Noisey interview last year, “I have anxiety up the ass and I realized that songwriting is a really good way to get rid of that.” Those feelings are universal and ingrained into the album’s tracks, making it all the more relatable. “Message Erased” is an upbeat tribute to those afraid to face their fears. We block out our problems and pretend they don’t exist, almost as easily as clicking the delete button on an answering machine. The dreamy, pool rock vibe of “Pavement” is an undertone to the heartbreak of losing the people closest to us, as well as the numbness that follows. There is a want to drift away, as feeling of “falling backwards” that “happens all the time”. It’s comforting to know that we are not alone after all.
If listeners should take anything away, it’s this -- Deeper is still a rock record. Though the group’s sound is yet to be defined in certainty, this is still an album you can (and should) have fun with. That fluctuating sense of identity leads to a clean, yet chaotic, sound throughout. “Should Be” sounds like all the best parts of the Talking Heads, Gohl’s David Byrne-esque vocals colliding in perfect synchronicity with Bhatti’s upbeat drumming and McBride’s infectious bass line. “Feels”, the most headbang-worthy track, is a fun and funky “fuck you” to the dissociative thoughts that plague. It’s a song for the angst-ridden, anti-authority mindset inside all of us, as the mantra, “don’t live a lie” is screamed repeatedly throughout. The indie sound reigns supreme, however, in closing track “Trust”. There is still distrust in the world, as there will always be. Paired up with Reimer’s clean guitar and the calls of “nothing feels right”, we leave with the perfect balance of emotions - hopeless and hopeful all at the same time.
Deeper, while short and straightforward, is anything but simple. With its carefree tone and careful lyrics, it is a solid balance of sound that serves as the ultimate intro to the Windy City group. Though it has been a long ride for Deeper, full of its own doubts, that sense of uncertainty is the driving force of the record. It makes every song all the more anticipated to figure out, and all the more interesting to listen to. Deeper is one for those nights that seem to drag, and all you need is some good rock tunes to keep you going. If anything, Deeper is a pro at that.