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Tag: Demos




When I last reviewed Denelian, their spot-on re-creation of the 80’s synth pop sound amused and confused me. I dedicated the entire review of False:Positive to eighties references, and ended the review assigning Denelian to those who like the new wave revival that’s going around. I didn’t even give it a thought that they might eventually break out of their 80’s-worship and, well, get modern.

Boy, has Denelian ever proved me wrong. Shedding the Joy Division and Cure comparisons like a soiled coat, Denelian’s dark, furious stomp now bears more connections to Nine Inch Nails than those pretty boys in the mascara, although neither comparison really peg them well any more. From start to finish, this album oozes an urgency, intensity, and reality that was sorely absent from their last EP. Everything has pop and bite on these new demos, from the thrashing drums to the searing synths to the gritty guitars to the thick yet very clear bass to even those dour vocals (which still sound new-wave – it’s hard to change a vocal style). Where it was campy and gauche last time around, now it’s prescient and arresting. This is, in all intents and purposes, a completely different band with a completely different sound.

The sound is produced in a much louder, rawer way, lending an authenticity to these demos that makes even “Inside” – a song that would fit in perfectly on False:Positive in terms of songwriting style and melodic construction – sound like a slicing, voracious monster. It’s the least vicious of the five tunes, and it still sounds ominous and dangerous. This, if you couldn’t tell from the glee oozing out of these words, is a fantastic development.

When Denelian really goes for it, as in “Bankrolled and Bitten,” they create a raucous, rowdy, fuzzy noise that not only could inspire dancing, it could inspire violence. It even inspired a crowd to form in my room, as people from down the hall were drawn to this loud, jarring, propelled noise. The junk noise and bongos that Denelian throw into “Bankrolled and Bitten” are two things I never in a million years would have pegged Denelian to even try, much less successfully pull off. Heck, I don’t think there’s been a dance-rock band in recent history that’s pulled it off as totally convincingly as Denelian does.

All of these five tracks burn and break with a passion that didn’t exist before. Some tracks, like “Bankrolled and Bitten” and “Ten Thirty-One Was Always Her Favorite Day” call up comparisons to dance-punk greats like The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. I can’t impress upon you how awesome it is that I can say that, and how excited I am that I am able to say that.

That’s not to say these songs are perfect, as there are some imperfections (beyond the planned ones in “Bankrolled” and the ‘let’s sound spontaneous’ herky-jerky beginnings of “Wealth of a Nation” and “Inside”) that thunk and then move on. But when the prodigal son comes home, you don’t immediately tell him that his clothes are dirty. You rejoice! And that’s what I’m doing.

Denelian must have taken some “Awesome Pills” or something, because they’re nothing like they were before. Denelian is a well-oiled, shimmy-inducing dance-punk machine that uses new-wave the right way: as a stepping stone and not something to be imitated. I am extremely excited to see what Denelian produces from here on out – they’ve really snapped themselves into shape and aligned themselves squarely on my “bands to watch” list.

-Stephen Carradini

Jeff Huffines -Demos

Band Name: Jeff Huffines
Album Name: Demos
Best Element: Strong use of mellow moods.
Genre: Art-rock/other
Website: n/a
Label Name: n/a

Band E-mail: n/a

This CD is one track- a l9-minute-long string of minute-long demos that end mid-song. It is a true demo CD- a laundry list of the various things that Jeff Huffines can do with a guitar, a home studio, and a lot of ideas. There’s some funk here, there’s a digression into medieval music, and there’s even a show tune, but the best material here is the mellower, moodier fare that comprises about half of the disc.

While the show tune is an odd choice, it’s not as odd as some of the other choices here. The tune immediately following is played primarily on accordion, until the accordion player gets attacked by what sounds like the end of the world in the form of bassoon, low-pitched rumble, and some cha-cha percussion. Lovely.

But it’s not all bizarre showmanship in this display. There’s a vibes-heavy track backed up by a glitching beat that actually sounds pretty sweet in a lo-fi sort of way. Another reverb-heavy piece sounds like the soundtrack to the inside of a cave- it would be perfect for movies. Another quirky gem is a frantic vibes pieces that morphs into a chilled-out psych piece with wind noises and a cowbell in the background. I was sad to hear this one end.

The final track is one of the best- a mellow piece on strings, it creates a really nice ambiance and gives a sense of finality to the demo. The high parts, while they sacrifice a little bit of beauty for technicality, are extremely ear-pleasing.

Jeff Huffines is quite an interesting artist. While he needs to stay away from medieval music, war marches, and bass-heavy stuff, he does have ample success in creating unique, vaguely psychedelic moods with his mellower fare. I would like to hear a longer form of his mellower pieces- if well composed, they could be great for fans of Portishead or Broken Social Scene.

-Stephen Carradini