Lead vocalist and guitarist Devin McCluskey, drummer Chris Spindelilus and Alex Moore on bass are together the Los Angeles trio The Dead Ships, and 2016 sees them burst with a refreshing spin on garage rock music as they drop their new album, CITYCIDE. No frills and straight to the point. This is how you release a record. A strong creative vision is felt in this no frills odyssey, cradling aspects of nostalgia and grace as the band produce a rock album well capable of turning a few heads.
The ‘Garage’ sound extracted from the record gives nods to bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Pixies, but also succeeds in clinging to a soulful charisma and honest musicality. There’s a lingering live aspect on CITYCIDE – crystallising the band’s talent to express feeling through some brilliant songwriting and hardened musicianship. Profound pictures are painted in the efforts heard on the tempo-switching track Loz Feliz, as the lyrics poke at the struggles of everyday motivation. Floorboards maneuvers into a harsh wilderness sound scape and serves as an exquisite vintage burner, showing a lot of emotion and serious instrumentation. The track braces the use of untamed guitar and crushing drums and percussion to fuel the hard rock elements heard in the song and elsewhere on the album. Whereas other tasteful joints like the track Seance, are executed with a soaring and energetic unity. McCluskey’s dynamic vocals are a perfect accompaniment to the crystallised instrumentation qualities throughout CITYCIDE, shifting the band into another direction rarely visited by bands in 2016. There’s a blinding array of originality and personal exclusivity that shine through the cracks of CITYCIDE, whilst also clasping to certain old-school characteristics, respectively.
Without a doubt it’s the group’s openness and gratified honesty that emanates from the album. Forward-thinking songwriting and a collective, tactile co-operation gel together to create real music in the rawest and most personalised form. Emotive ventures of sadness and heartache are embraced and perfectly represented on the record. By handling elements of a psychedelic fondness, and a vintage grounding, The Dead Ships prove with the release of CITYCIDE that contemporary rock music is alive and well and is not yet ready to ignore the overwhelming indulgence of a brilliant, no gimmicks, rock band.