Album Review: Deadbeat Descendant - The Clear Tear EP

I’ve been a fan of Deadbeat Descendant’s infectiously jangly, retro-inspired racket for some time now. They’re one of those bands that wouldn’t be out of place decades ago (something that applies to them sartorially, in some cases, as well, but that’s neither here nor there), but sound pretty fresh in the Naughties. So when a hot-off-the-press copy of their latest endeavor, the Clear Tear EP, found its way to my mailbox, it goes without saying that I was pleased as punch.

The Clear Tear marks a noticeable shift in the Deadbeat sound. Whereas once upon a time their clever lyrics and bouncy riffs were verging on menacing (not that there’s anything wrong with that), these four songs present at times an even more sinister, distinctly grittier sound without losing any of the saucy danceability. Think of it as more substance to go along with the style. Deadbeat Descendant: now with 60% more bite!

“Journeys Around My Room” starts things off with a bang, highlighted by Jez Norton’s feisty guitars and a Dean Marchant bassline that hearkens back to the best of the Swinging 1960s. “Death is a Painter” is at once morbid and ridiculously catchy, and features a terrific parting shot: “Death is a Painter/and God is a critic”. “East European Lighter” is probably the most addictive of the four, which believe you me is saying something. The song features further fine guitar playing courtesy of Mr. Norton, along with singer Raal Harris indulging in some noisemaking that sounds a bit akin to Arrested Development’s Gob Bluth’s hilarious chicken noises, which is just all sorts of fantastic. Oh, and his voice when he’s not clucking is not bad, either. “Midweek Rebellion” serves as the EP’s cool-down moment, after the three intense, uproarious songs before it. Through it all Raal croons, Jez shreds, Dean resonates, and Rosco pummels, each with swaggering panache.

All in all, Deadbeat Descendant continue to hold a special place in my heart for their wry wit, tight pants, and proclivity for making killer music. To check out their stuff for yourself, head over to their official site or their Myspace page.


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