When I was a kid, I had a penchant for taking things apart (like my radio and Gone Fishing game) just to see how they operated inside, and then putting them back together to see them in action with this new understanding of what was cranking within the plastic. Deep Time’s self-titled album, out on Hardly Art, is kind of like that. It’s also an excellent example of how individual parts can be really simple, but when cleverly layered become so interesting you want to stop and give it your full attention. It’s also a lot like a cross between Stereolab and Beat Happening.
Deep Time are form Austin, TX and used to be Yellow Fever, who you may have read about on NPR after Carrie Brownstein heard their demo. They changed their name after another band named Yellow Fever didn’t feel like sharing their name. No problem, though, because Deep Time just rolled with it and then made more tunes that evolved from their more folk-inclined minimalism into some clever art rock jams that you shouldn’t be able to be bored to
Every song calls for active listening. This is not music to meditate to. The songs call for full attention, with every layer being clear enough to isolate so the compositions can be picked apart and then put back together again, making them even easier to appreciate. At the core of everything is the steady beat of Adam Jones and the understated guitar and vocal delivery of Jennifer Moore; the latter which is primarily used as another, mostly percussive, instrument. The lyrics are secondary, as it’s the arrangements with simple lines layered with fun embellishments that make the songs impressive. Where they matter is minimal, such as in “Marathon,” with lines like “You can make it, you can, you can,” but it’s still the phrasing of those words that make them a driving force.
‘Bermuda Triangle” does a great job of cleverly switching up rhyme and rhythm, making it a song with ADD, yet still makes total sense. “Horse” also tricks you at first into thinking the time and tempo is one thing, but then the vocals come in and make it another, and then at the end goes into a tribal jam that you may still be pounding on the nearest object even after it’s over. “Clouds” is the first single, already accompanied with video directed by Hannah Lew of Grass Widow. Every element of the song is intriguing in it’s simplicity; not to mention it’s catchy as hell. Just try to listen and not be singing along by the end.
Deep Time is all about the sounds. Even when they are simple, they have with and vigor with the ability to burrow into your brain so you’re left singing these lines that seemed harmless on the surface...but when the radio's all you got, the sounds are more than what you thought.