Local Love: Deep Cuts
Photo: Amanda J.Cain
In never ceases to amaze me, that every now and again, something great can be so short. Some of the better releases I’ve heard have been EP’s, that come off as mere moments in time that are almost a glimpse into what a band had happening in a brief moment. When I was younger, EP’s were afterthoughts in a world full of CD Longboxes and European imports at the independent record shops. However, if a band is smart, nowadays they’ll package every thought they have, and an EP is a great way to do so. When I heard that Houston’s Deep Cuts was set to drop a new album, I honestly didn’t think much of it. Though they’re an entertaining group, I always thought that they sounded too much like Vampire Weekend. However, when I got the advance from Brandon over at Treaty Oak, I was pleasantly surprised in what I heard. I’m here to tell you that Deep Cuts has grown from their past release and into something deep, vibrant, and diverse on their new EP, “Love Grows.” In just sixteen minutes, Deep Cuts takes you on a journey that you can’t help but fall in love with, while they spread their wings as a band growing from their former selves.
There’s something about these six songs that truly echoes sounds of the past, in a fresh new way. Upon first listen I heard the influence of Joe Higgs, the vibe of The Mighty Diamonds, and the rhythmic infusion of Tom Ze almost coupled with the genius of Sergio Mendes. It’s as if Deep Cuts went deep into the past to put together something that reflected the area south of Houston near the bay where they all grew up in. Because the players are the same, some of the feeling from “Slow Descent” still lingers, but “Love Grows” is truly it’s own sound. Getting things started is a quick little number in “Cigarette Boat.” The Latin rhythms coupled with an almost flamenco guitar hook are only made more interesting by group vocals. Then, as quickly as it starts, it’s over. The band quickly changes pace on the next track, “Causeway,” where the feeling of Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and ZZ Top seem to come together with a hook that you can’t help but listen to on repeat. By the time the drunken tremolo heavy opening of “Serpents,” you can’t help but feel like you had one too many Pina Coladas. There are moments where singer Chase Harris shies away from his short bursted vocals to almost emote in a Conor Oberst sort of way, which makes for a refreshing change in the group’s sound. When they doo wop meets Dick Dale sound of “Alchemist” gets going, you realize quite quickly, that Deep Cuts has been sitting on this one for a while. There’s so much going on in such a simple way on the track, that it feels as if it’s been in their catalog for quite some time, and the simplistic chanting of “Alchimist” that’s followed by backing vocals adds a mere charm to the song.
The second to last track, “Arcus Cloud,” might be the most impressive of the album. It’s like Deep Cuts found a way to meld together everything that came before them into something completely their own. There’s almost the vibe of The Jam on this song, but being performed with a lingering reverbed guitar that commands another listen. This feels like the future of what these guys should embrace, as there’s an intensity to the track while still keeping the groups Latin influences intact; even if they’re hidden in the back of the track. The closer, is another soundscaped song with, “Barely There.” The way the band moderately sways with dual vocal tracks while keeping the song going with an insanely strong hook fueled guitar, it definitely keeps your attention with the vibe of something you can bop your head and move your feet to.
If this is where Deep Cuts is going musically, I say give me more. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they kept their general tone while taking risks with their sound at the same time. For me, it’s a risk that paid off and one that gives them a sound to call their own. “Love Grows” will be available digitally on September 12th, and physically when Deep Cuts performs at Fitzgerald’s on September 19th. The doors are at 8:00, the show is all ages, and cover runs between $10.00 and $12.00.