Four years in, Leigh lads DEAFDEAFDEAF are back with a sonic gem of an EP. Their new release, Impulse, Routine is the group’s first studio-recorded EP and blends a variety of genres. The Manchester quintet delves into the rivers of shoegaze and traverses the dark paths of post-punk to produce a well-rounded four-track album.

Frontman, Nathan Hill has a boomingly deep voice that instantly draws you in. It creates the main groundwork for their post-punk sound as the instrumentation merges gentle lead notes and roaring overdriven chords. The opener Sweet Thing bursts into a galloping rhythm; very Smiths-influenced. The bass adds a gloomy undertone whilst the guitars rage on over crashing cymbals and marching snares.

This steady opener certainly delivers more of a post-punk offering with light glimmerings of their shoegaze capabilities. A lot of that is left to the rhythm guitar knocking out notes to blend with the echo vocals. The breakthrough riff pounds away as the song comes to a close, moving back to its delicate introduction. It’s a slow and moody track that sets the tone for an EP that is bleak in its emotions and erratic in its sound.

Sick Dog is in your face from the start with the vocals pulling you in and a steady guitar rhythm to keep the focus. When it kicks in it produces a kicking lead riff and those deep vocals remind me of another great Manchester band of times gone by, Bleach Boy. However, unlike the opener, Sick Dog packs a proper punch. It directs itself into cleaner rhythms and more shoegaze and sonic leads.

The chorus is a cataclysmic onslaught of noise rock with pounding drums that are the only constant. Everything else is attacking from all four corners. The only downside to this track is its length. As the tempo rises and the energy is felt in the vocals and music, Sick Dog comes to an abrupt finish. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for death, perhaps it’s to have me invested. What I can say is, Sick Dog needs to be longer.

The title track, Impulse, Routine is a bass-driven piece with bouncing indie leads. The guitars maintain the clean tones and the vocals feel sorrowful and closer to the framework. The echoes build up later, but we get a real listen to the vocal quality here. It’s the most sonically entrancing piece so far on the EP. The aura around the sound is massive and certainly builds up from the dark vibe in Sweet Thing.

It’s a track that continues to grow and grow as the build-up progresses into the sonic chorus. So far the group has ticked off many post-punk claims but lacks more in their shoegaze style. Once more DEAFDEAFDEAF teases the shoegaze potential the guitars have as Impulse, Routine closes. The songwriting certainly captures the essence of a lot of modern post-punk music. The constant rhythms and noise assault are there, but there’s a potential for more sounds and sonic instrumentation.

Now the closing track Totally In Love is a vibrant and warm indie piece. Here those guitars are ringing out with more dreamy aspects. It has the most uplifting sound of the record, a juxtaposition to its previous track. It’s the loudest track on the album as well with tiny breaks and more on the wall of noise. The vocals swim nicely within the noise, but those over-effected guitar notes are certainly the frontrunner here. It almost feels as though the vocals are trying to keep up. The drums are Switzerland trying to balance everything out between the two parties.

It is a triumphant conclusion and encapsulates everything I have enjoyed thus far from the EP. It has a decent length, instrumental exploration (the closing heavy guitar notes especially) and an overall exciting rhythm section. This is certainly a track to finish on and feels as though everything has been leading up to this moment.

DEAFDEAFDEAF piece together gloomy post-punk that is more sonically varied than a lot of big names in that genre. It hammers away, it crawls into a triumphant walk and shows that this band has the potential to write some of the best tracks in the post-punk scene.



By mykct