The Best of 2011 – July Through December: #9: Deas Vail | Christian Music Zine


Too much is never enough.  Not all that long ago, Deas Vail came out with Birds & Cages.  Then recently they came out with a Split EP with Farewell Flight.  Now they are coming out with their self-titled third release on September 6th and we’re sitting on pins and needles in anticipation.

Here’s their bio:

It would be easy to describe Deas Vail simply by pointing at vocalist Wes Blaylock’s upper register range and falsetto and then to slap on the indie label. Granted, it’s an unmistakable voice that sounds as if it bides its time floating amid the stars, and so, is a major part of the band’s sound. But there’s so much more beyond that soaring voice.

To start, the band’s debut “All the Houses Look the Same,” features the unfailingly sharp and frenetic guitar work of Andy Moore (think Chris Walla or Jonny Greenwood), whose riffs are as memorable as any of the ridiculously high notes that Blaylock hits. Moore’s work on the record sets a tone in line with America’s finest indie rock (Death Cab for Cutie, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) and Europe’s best-kept secrets (Mew, Kashmir).

But in no way does the album, produced by Mark Lee Townsend (Relient K), rely on any particular mix of instrumentation. By the time the manic guitar of “Rewind” fades away, it is replaced by the piano-led “Shoreline,” courtesy of keyboardist Laura Blaylock, Wes’ wife. The song also features a haunting string
arrangement by the Blaylocks and the driving and clever rhythm section of drummer Kelsey Harelson and bassist Justin Froning backs all of it.

Formed while its members were students at Arkansas Tech in the Midwestern hamlet of Russellville, the band has gone through several different members before settling in with its current lineup for the past two-and-a-half years. While at school, Blaylock began writing songs he initially envisioned as solo works, but when coupled with an affinity for the indie-rock scene, Deas Vail was born.

Blaylock discovered and embraced the indie rock scene his senior year of high school, eschewing the bluegrass and folk enriched home he grew up in (his sister Hannah fronts bluegrass/country outfit Eden’s Edge).

“When we started, it was something we wanted to do because we enjoy music,” Blaylock said. “We write songs because we love songs. They make us happy or explain an experience. That’s why I grab hold of these songs and love them. It’s something we really care about.”

Upon the record’s release last spring, the band took on a healthy touring schedule that saw them crisscrossing the country for much of the year. Supporting acts like Lost Ocean, John Reuben and Edison Glass helped build the band’s fanbase, a trend they would like to continue this year as the band feels their live show is essential to the experience and that more new fans can be made with this album.

“To us, playing live is just as important as making records, maybe more,” Blaylock said. “Even if we get tired of playing these songs, there’s meaning in the lyrics and we still feel like it’s good music.”

Check out the rest of the list here.

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