The Deadline Shakes - Zealots

by Jim Cunnar Rating:9 Release Date:2015-11-30

The first time you listen to The Deadline Shakes debut album Zealots, it's like drinking from a sonic firehose. New and old rock influences abound, from 70s glam to 80s college to mainstream indie of today. It could of been a trainwreck smorgasboard of sounds, but instead, The Deadline Shakes have created one of the funnest albums of the year.

Zealots opens strongly with 'Bright Spot in a Bad Year'. Acoustic strums with male/female harmonies (think Of Monsters and Men) build into an expansive, crashing chorus which arcs nicely into the fantastic follow-up, 'Shelters', whose opening guitar riff could of been pulled straight off 'Reading, Writing and Arithmetic' by The Sundays.  Gentle lilting vocals by Kiera Pollock explode into an Abba-esque chorus that fades back into Pollock's softness. There's some psychedlic Bowie sprinkled on top for good measure. As concocted as this mixture sounds, it works brilliantly. 

"A Little Waiting While" is a campy Belle And Sebastian groover, while "Slipping From Your Heart" feels like Dan Bejar of Destroyer and Jeff Lynne got drunk and had a late night tryst.  "You Bring The Class" is quintessential Scotish rock, with the chorus channeling fellow countrymen Idlewild.

"Sweeten The Deal", with it's jangly guitars, and "Frozen Out", with it's nice lyrical word play, both harken back to Kilmarnock's Trashcan Sinatras. "Frozen Out"'s chorus of "I still try to carry some hope into the winter, whose to say that I am the saint and you're the sinner" fits perfectly into the banjo and string framework of the music. 

Despite this being a debut, a number of the songs on "Zealots" are singles from years past. "Sweeten The Deal", "Boy" and "Bright Spot In A Bad Year" date back to 2012 and 2013. These songs have a slightly different sound than the newer ones but don't impact the cohesiveness of the album. 

Zealots is so chock full of different musical genres it should feel overwhelming, but it's far from that. The Deadline Shakes pull this off by layering and piecing the sounds together, not blending them. The finished dish is amazingly tasty.

Sometimes less is more. This is one time where it definitely is not.

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