Deaf Club are pulling a nice little trick. Woozy atmospherics, slow tempo and echoey, echoey reverb all seem to suggest the kind of art-dream-sleepy-pop I love in the work of The xx or Beach House, and their debut EP’s artwork doesn’t exactly excise the idea of beachy chillwave from the mind, but, really, if you strip it all down, this is a whole heap louder than any of that gentile, loved-up stuff. It’s fair to say that Deaf Club rock – just very slowly.
Despite this, ‘Hana’ would seem to disprove me immediately. Trickling guitar work and a slumberous drumbeat do not a rock song make, and when the lead singer’s vocals appear, masked in shadowy production as they are, you might write me and my fabulous opinions off completely. But wait for the song to step up, hear those beats move up a gear and soon even the relatively sedate verses sound a little beefier. By the end of the song that familiar production remains, but the mood has not. 7-minute closer ‘Postcard’ takes a similar course, with guitars growing like time-lapsed plant growth, entwining around rich emotive vocals until there’s no room for them left and crash cymbals and anthemic, echoing melodies become par for the course before fading almost as slowly. This isn’t so much dream-pop as sleepwalk-pop – there’s action here cloaked under the familiarity of a calmer aesthetic.
Deaf Club have crafted what should be ponderous, quiet and contemplative into an EP that is all too short, unexpectedly exciting and gloriously double-edged. There is an obvious talent here for two separate genres, and whether they go one way, the other, or both for their next release will be more than some of the fun. Get the whole self-titled release for free on their Bandcamp page.