Today is the day for Deleted Scenes’ much-awaited new album, Young People’s Church of the Air. We previewed their single “Bedbedbedbedbed” that came out a few months ago, which also now has a video to go with it, (see below) and it was clear then that the band was continuing to cultivate a sound very much their own. With the release of this new album, we now have the entire context to place everything in.
The album opens with “A Litany for Mrs.T,” which eases in with what sounds like music being sampled from someplace far away back in time, with Dan Scheuerman’s soft and melodic vocals creeping in. This base is slowly layered upon through the song with clever bass lines, interesting drum beats, and harp-like synth lines. “Hallelujah,” Dan sings, setting a uplifting, redemptive tone. Already I’m thinking this album is pretty solid. This goes into the poppy and playful sounding “The Days of Adderall,” which is like one of those songs where you know the lyrical subject matter isn’t actually very fun, but all the intelligent pop melodies surrounding it make the delivery so upbeat you can’t be that depressed.
There’s not too much filler here, though the band excels the most on the songs with a fuller sound. Some of the more sample-based electronic songs like the emptier and echoing “A Bunch of People Who Love You Like Crazy” may feel like filler in comparison, but there’s still some weight there. On many of the songs the use of repetition is used to drive thought-provoking lyrics into your head like mantras, such as on “Burglarizing the Deaf,” when Scheuerman repeats “we don’t need to justify it,” it feels both careless and comforting. Songs like this and “English as a Second Language” aren’t songs where you have to think about the meaning too hard, as they will seep in effortlessly.
The majority of the album could be categorized into experimental pop, with songs like “Baltika 9” taking on a more grunge post-punk psychedelic feel, and the beautifully sparse “Nassau” offering a nice change of pace. “Ordination Day” reminded me of tUnE-yArDs with the off beat drum hits, use of a variety of percussion sounds, plus voice as a percussion instrument paired with fuzzed out guitar. “The Demon & the Hurricane” has a great ominous beginning like a Radiohead song circa Hail to the Thief, then at the end they bust into some very Man Man-style piano thrash.
This album is sincere and rebellious at times, and at others playful, with issues of death and relationships approached with resigned realness. Scheuerman’s voice is often obscured and echoing, like maybe his child self is communicating to his real self through a telephone made of string and cups and magic, and their conversation is what’s translated onto Young People’s Church of the Air.
Deleted Scenes are currently on tour for your live sonic pleasure. Catch them in your town at one of the dates below, and pick up your copy of the new album while you’re there:
Sept 6, Athens, GA, Farm 255
Sept 8, Jacksonville, FL, Burro Bar
Sept 9, Orlando, FL, Will's Pub
Sept 10, Ft. Myers, FL, Cool Hand Lucs
Sept 11, New Orleans, LA, The Saint
Sept 12, Austin, TX, Mohawk
Sept 13, Denton, TX, J&J's Pizza
Sept 14, Kansas City, MO, Record Bar
Sept 15, Omaha, NE, O'Leaver's
Sept 16, Iowa City, IA, The Mill
Sept 17, Fairfield, IA, Beauty Shop
Sept 18, Madison, WI, High Noon Saloon w/ Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
Sept 19, Chicago, IL, Pancho's
Sept 21, Ypsilanti, MI, Woodruff's
Sept 22, Toronto, ON, Rancho Relaxo
Sept 24, Montreal, QC, Pop Montreal w/ Yuck
Sept 25, Winooski, VT, Monkey Bar
Sept 27, Pittsburgh, PA, Smiling Moose
Oct 6, Durham, NC, The Pinhook
Oct 9, Washington, DC, DC9 w/ The Life and Times
Oct 10, Baltimore, MD, Golden West w/ The Life and Times
Oct 11, New York, Mercury Lounge w/ The Life and Times
Oct 12, New Haven, CT, Bar Night Club w/ The Life and Times
Oct 13, Philadelphia, PA, Jonny Brenda's w/ The Life and Times
Oct 14, Boston, MA, Obrien's w/ The Life and Times