By Tanner Meadows
Artist: Deep State
Album: The Path to Fast Oblivion
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2019
Label: Friendship Fever
The Athens, Ga. quartet, Deep State, offers an energetic brand of punk-influenced indie rock on their recently released sophomore record, The Path to Fast Oblivion. Deep State is composed of Taylor Chmura on guitar/vocals, Christian DeRoeck on rhythm guitar, Michael Gonzalez on drums and Brandon Page on bass.
The record opens up on “The Soft Room,” a jolty, driven opener that contrasts sections of punctual punky guitars with more melodic lines, though the stop and start creates a weird pacing that clearly displays Deep State’s shortcomings from the get-go. Their sound is something of a nostalgic garage rock but their guitar work sometimes falls a little flat and just doesn’t punch through or deliver the payoff typical of the genre. The next track, “Accomplice,” which begins immediately as the former ends, is a fast-paced number and commences the upward trajectory for the album.
The next four songs, “Under the Gun,” “Son,” “Time Unraveled,” and “Dozer,” really demonstrate the potential of the band and their ability to deliver a fun, upbeat, fuzzy garage sound, and are the peak of the record. However, the groove the group finds is broken by the seventh track, “Ideals.” It’s an acoustic, meandering ballad that feels out of place. Another slow one after that, “You Are the Worst Person I Know,” is a little better. The change in lyrics, from the title of the song to “I am the worst person I know,” is felt, and the band’s guitar work is more present, but the buildup doesn’t pay off the way that it could, and the song peters out into a return to form, “Levitator.”
“Bad Lines” and “Paint” are two songs that are more punk-influenced than indie, and they are followed by the nearly four minute long interlude of answering machine conversations over a slow blues guitar and beat titled “Oblivion.” The final track, “Captain,” is an introspective closer, finishing out the album, not with a bang, but not without purpose either. All in all, The Path to Fast Oblivion shows a lot of potential for the group but flounders at the opportunity for experimentation. The record is fun, but it isn’t anything new.