- by Miz DeShannon Rating:5 Release Date:2016-09-16 Label: Cooking Vinyl
‘Femejism’ – says it all about Deap Vally really. Feminism with balls. That ‘couldn’t care less, just get on with it’ kind of vibe they’ve put out since 2011. You can imagine Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards sat in the crochet class they met in, deciding upon making a band, and just not being bothered about knowing anyone else who might want to come and play bass or keys, or sing, “what should we do that for”… Question everything, justify, DIY.
With bold and brash graphics, garish videos and the growling in-your-face tunes, the snippets of this second album look like the duo are peas-in-a-pod with Peaches, who they toured with in 2015, eons since we last had a release from them. And they are – maybe from a different corner of the musical spectrum, but part of the same wave of women nailing a presence in the business. Having performed and toured with Queens Of The Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Iggy Pop, The Vaccines and Wolfmother since their first release in 2013, they definitely mean (or meant) serious business.
Opening with ‘Royal Jelly’, the solid, pulsing opener on ‘Femejism’ is like Beyoncé on barbiturates – full of empowering phraseology, moaning enlightenment, pounding drums and grinding riffs. As is social media hit ‘Gonnawanna’, which blatantly doesn’t give a f*** as they actually say. Sandwiched in between the two is ‘Julian’ though, sounding so perfectly Yeah Yeah Yeahs it’s frightening. And a little repetitive in its structure. As is ‘Little Baby Beauty Queen’ which really is too squeaky clean and grates on some near canine pitch. Grunge vibes kick in with ‘Smile More’, but then ‘Critic’ is a musically sparse swear-infused moan. Go on – get it all out Lindsay. That’s exactly how I feel half the time love.
It’s a bit of a rollercoaster this album – back and forth to tracks that excite and tracks that fade into nothingness, or that you could call ‘growers’. By half way through there are so many of the same sounds, that the ‘rama-lama-ding-dong’ of the fairly good ‘Two Seat Bike’ is overlooked and you want to ban Troy from using that Big Muff for forever and a day.
Lyrically it’s got some of those ‘in your face’ balls, but musically ‘Femejism’ is quite repetitive and lacks the frantic creative intensity of their first album. In older down tempo tracks like the slow closing number ‘Six Feet Under’ on their debut, there was some menace trying to get out. Well maybe it escaped. The percentage of growl left is minimal on ‘Femejism’, and whilst understanding the changes and developments in artists over time, it just feels a bit too much of a drag.
They were so engaging to just listen to, and now the engaging things are the bright and candy coloured videos and dancing graphics. ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is a hard track to follow of course, but there’s not quite enough oomph in ‘Femejism’ to climax.