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dep - “We Are The Lights That Will Not Go Out” (2018) review

dep - We Are The Lights That Will Not Go Out (Self-released, 2018)

“I think anyone who makes anything has certain water-shed moments in their life creatively. This feels like one of mine,” reads the description for dep’s newest album, The Lights That Will Not Go Out. The artist hails from Asheville, North Carolina and fuses together a captivating concoction of post-rock and ambient electronica.

With an 8-minute long opening track, it’s certainly an ambitious introduction. But as an instrumentalist well into the cavernous depths of progressive and alternative rock, it makes perfect sense. “Inhale, Exhale” is as cinematic as it is longwinded. It’s hard to distinguish one roaring mechanistic melody from the next. The track’s climax comes in the form of percussive bursts of warm static with an army of synths carrying the momentum forward. By the end you’re left motionless and satiated.

“We Know the Way” an “We Will Never Fail” sounds like a collaboration between Coldplay and Deafheaven run through a compression pedal. It’s melancholy, cathartic, and chock full of delayed distortion—the kind of art rock that’s boring to some and addictive to others.

This in itself is quite telling of the album as a whole. As far as instrumental post-rock albums go, dep certainly offers quite the soundscape. But the uniformity of the record leaves me hungry for more melodic experimentation. “Shimmer (Inception)” particularly comes to mind. What role could analog noise play here? How about a rough-hewn string ensemble? Or even vocals? Those walls of sound are undoubtedly delicious. But to what end? And at one point will listeners grow tired of a whole album of the stuff? The Lights That Will Not Go Out will certainly grab you with its velvety yet surging chord progressions and salient, ringing notes. But when it comes to convention, dep plays it pretty safe.

- Gabe Kahan
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