Deep Sea Diver Fascinates With Dreamy Power Pop On ‘Secrets’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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12729373_10156610819775381_3307984211058898169_nThere’s a dreamy murkiness to the new record from Deep Sea Diver, no doubt influenced by their hometown of Seattle. Their sophomore LP Secrets is 10 tracks of scuzzy power pop that hits the spot. It’s got a mod retro feel to it, like Nico under strobe lights in a dark club, but there’s also a manic fluidity to it, like a smooth, cool waterfall. Led by the sultry-voiced Jessica Dobson, Deep Sea Diver is a fascinating band to watch.

Effortlessly cool and stylish, Dobson brings experience with Beck, the Shins, Spoon and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Her singing has an urgency to it, like a wild, uninhibited howl that’s been desperate to get out. And it works in different ways depending on the band’s leaning toward a grungier sound or a more psychedelic one. Both suit their sensibilities just fine and even better when they work together to create a wacky hybrid sound of trippy, fuzzy dream pop with some rough edges.

The urgency expands into the lyrics, too, which run the gamut of topics, from toxic relationships to self-preservation. “Notice Me” is a breathless explosion of heartbreak, and “Always Waiting” is a snail’s pace slow burner about inconsistently putting yourself first.

Only “It Takes a Moment” finds Dobson escaping from this death grip. “I’m free,” she wails again and again in one of the prettiest melodies of the whole album. This track is like a cool breeze, with all the tension let go. A similarly clear-eyed moment comes with “Great Light”, a pulsating, simple and clean, dreamy lull. “I feel it all,” she sings. As do we.

Title track “Secrets” and “See These Eyes” are the album’s most fun, though still under a cloak of darkness despite the up-tempo beats. But when they pick up, they really pick up, and while they carry through with the theme of being broken-hearted and down and out, they also rock out enough to make you want to dance to it. The latter is an especially candy-coated welcome burst of retro dance pop about picking yourself up from the gutter and moving forward (a rare beam of light, lyrically).

So much of Secrets does feel secret. It’s like entering the brain (and heart) of someone who is dying inside, but pushing through in spite of it. Most of us have been there, and Deep Sea Diver makes reliving those feelings fun in a twisted way.

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