Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Debauchees - Big Machines and Peculiar Beings (2013)

My first cursory listen to Louisville rock trio The Debauchees, recommended to me by Zach at We Listen For You, rather quickly established them as a band to watch for me. Both their singles the incendiary "I've Got Energy" and the sauntering "Rancid Dancin'"scratched itches I wasn't even aware I had and when news quickly spread that their debut album was coming and coming fast, I was giddy with excitement and happily marked the date down on my calendar.

The album's starter track, the eponymous "Big Machines and Peculiar Beings" leads you into a false sense of security. Considerably down tempo from the first two singles "I've Got Energy" and "Rancid Dancin'", "Big Machines and Peculiar Beings" is as yawny as a sunning cat at least initially. It engages in a bit of playful mood swings as intensity mounts and then disperses seemingly at the drop of hat in a way not wholly unlike "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Sidney Chadwick's vocals are a gentle stretch, a slow drawl, and a soft purr before its escalation, splitting in two- one part still sultry alto the other high-pitched chattering. While owning her uncoolness, a lot of the Debauchees' and by extension the album's exceptional moments occur right before tempestuousness when Chadwick is the epitome of relaxed cool.

That's not to discredit the trio's fiery, energetic delivery. Most rock bands try and succeed there, The Debauchees however prove that when slowed down they can still not only maintain your interest but stimulate your sense and blow your mind. It takes a sort of maturity to exercise the restraint necessary for Chadwick to establish her quirky songwriting chops and the band rallies accommodatingly around her, ready to dial things up when the opportunity calls for it and they certainly do so and often. But for the songs' short lengths there isn't the light-speed rush towards the finish.

Ultimately and thankfully, The Debauchees' isn't just about Chadwick though she is the most spotlighted member as their singer. The Debauchees handle themselves with equal-tempering, creating their tumult with an even hand and egalitarian showcasing ability. Big Machines and Peculiar Beings is a fun and riotously enjoyable affair. Its songs are mostly self-contained tales but manage to stack up with peculiar connectedness. An album where just about each song is a highlight for its own score of delightfully offered musical moments. Big Machines and Peculiar Beings is a record that rocks and rocks well, a scrumptious debut from the trio of charming misfits.

Big Machines and Peculiar Being is out now on sonaBLAST! records. You can grab it digitally or on CD via Bandcamp here.

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