Deas Vail – All The Houses Look The Same

all the houses
Deas Vail – All The Houses Look The Same
Brave New World
March 6, 2007

What It Sounds Like:  Piano-heavy indie rock in the vein of Death Cab For Cutie and Mae, aimed to have you floating through the night skies.

Lead singer Wes Blaylock has a very pretty voice.  There no other way to say it.  It’s not intimidating.  It’s not necessarily powerful.  It’s just flat out pretty.  To say this from one man to another, it may come off as disrespectful.  I certainly wouldn’t want my voice described as “pretty”.  So…disrespectful?  Not so.  When you’re floating your vocals over the likes of the Mae-esque Shoreline, singing This give and take, this waiting on time / It’s this twisted up memory that I can’t unwind / These fragile words that fall from my mouth / And I’m crumbling and crowded, but I’ve figured you out / I’ve figured you out, you don’t want someone who sounds like he’d be good in a fight.  You want a lover, not a fighter.

Was Blaylock is a lover; not a fighter.  Make no mistake.

It doesn’t hurt matters that he’s backed up by his beautiful bride Laura on keyboards and vocals.  Lover; not a fighter.  Smart choice, Mr. Blaylock.  She’s only one other member of this five-piece, but an integral part nevertheless.

Don’t walk away…they beg in unison on the chorus of A Lover’s Charm, while the piano bangs away on each note, and the bass and drums drop in to enunciate the emotion behind their words.  Is it groundbreaking?  Not really.  Is it done better than your average indie band?  Without a doubt.  A noticeable distinction is the phenomenal mixing (done by the ever-present J.R. McNeely) and production (who else?  Mark Lee Townsend, guitarist of the live dc Talk lineup in the 90s).  The whole mix is spot on.  Every instrument and note is moved into place, emerging with an extremely tight-knit and fine-tuned record.  This can be troublesome in some cases with various types of music – sometimes bands need to “loosen up” in the studio and just let things fly.  Whatever the argument may be, it’s not the case here.  The production is through the roof, and it pushes this record to new heights.  This stuff is simply smooth – its the best word for it.

What I love about this record is that they know how to rock out (as much as a band like Deas Vail can “rock out”) more than other bands who claim this indie-piano formula.  Anything You Say, along with Shadows And City Lights (geez, I’ll dock them a point there – how overused is a title like that?) are prime examples.  They give a little edge to a genre  that can be overwhelmed in mellow-sounding rock, without ever losing the soul of their sound.  It’s almost a type of Lovedrug-rock outs.  It fits.  It works.

In the worst play on an album’s title ever, all of these songs sure don’t sound the same!

Ha!

hmmmm….

There’s a noticeable lack of filler, which is wonderful.  Numerous different piano melodies and launches into the atmosphere (softly of course) fill up this thirteen song record.  Nothing really runs together, which is an accomplishment in its own right, especially when you’re hitting ten-plus songs.

Like piano-rock?  You’ve found your home.

7.5/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Anything You Say / Light As Air

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