I mentioned in a recent review that an album was the first to truly catch my attention this year. Sydney band Deep Sea Arcade's debut album Outlands (to be released March 16) is definitely the second.
Deep Sea Arcade formed in 2008 when long-time friends Nic Mckenzie and Nick Weaver recruited Carlos Adura, Simon Relf and Tim Chamberlain to their cause. Since dropping their debut EP, Don't be sorry, in 2009, the band has built a reputation in Australia and abroad. This has included tours with Noel Gallagher and Modest Mouse and appearances at Spain's Primavera Festival and the Great Escape in the UK.
Outlands is the culmination of their musical education - a dark, absorbing and adventurous album which spans various musical influences. This album honors the experimental and dystopian sci-fi films of the 60s, and like any good movie this album takes the listener on a (12-track) journey. This works, because the album has no holes, it flows effortlessly.
First single "Girls," released late last year, has already received significant airplay on BBC1, and rightly so, with a terrific riff completing a classic indie-pop track. The recently released "Steam" - one of the lighter songs on the album - has a definite retro feel, from the repeating loop to the catchy pop-melodies. "Together" has strong similarities to Tame Impala's music, or even some of the Beatles' later kaleidoscopic works (circa Magical Mystery Tour). Mckenzie's drifty vocals are a highlight, especially on "Lonely in Your Arms" which is perhaps the standout. This track is fantastically produced surf-pop topped-off with regimented percussion and deep bass embraces.
Outlands is fantastic, and the release will no doubt thrust Deep Sea Arcade further into the spotlight, and not just in Australia. If only there was more music of this quality.