Deep Sea Arcade: Outlands (Ivy League)

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Deep Sea Arcade: Lonely in your Arms
Deep Sea Arcade: Outlands (Ivy League)

Hard to know what constitutes "indie" these days, but given the single Girls from the debut album by this Sydney band has been getting play on BBC Radio 1 in the UK and sounds impeccably poppy, they would seem to me to be fairly mainstrream . . . or at least could readily find their place there.

That they've opened for Kaiser Chiefs and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds would also suggest they have moved from writing in the bedroom to record company boardroom with some ease, and certainly songs like the bouncy post-Britpop Granite City or the melodic tripped out ballad Ride here confirm that impression.

This is all good of course.

That single Girls has been a slow crawler for them however and scored UK and Kiwi radio play long after it's Australian release, and this album was out in Australia back in March.

Well, better late than never because here there is slightly gritty but shiny pop (Steam), dreamy light-adelic pop (Together, All the Kids), clappy surf-guitar influenced pop (Lonely in Your Arms) and many other kinds of likable pop besides.

Don't Be Sorry is like the Beach Boys saluting the Clash with a homage entitled Bondi Calling.

The songwriting team of Nick Weaver (who intelligently answers our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here) and Nic McKenzie might be young, but they sure know their way around classic chord changes (think everything from Beat-era British bands to gentle power pop by the likes of the Shoes) and filter them through a dozen economic songs in 40 minutes.

Lovely guitar jangle and just enough minor chords to keep it slightly dark and interesting (and "indie"), so while they don't reinvent the genres they explore they do manage to pull them all together in a very attractive package which not just bristles with potential but stands as very impressive and mature debut album.

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Dean Jonasson - Aug 17, 2012

Wow! Powerpop lives, jangling in those perfectly pained chord changes and romantic reverb. This is the grail for lonely guys and wistful girls. Like digging deep into a NUGGETS boxset and finding a precious secret (The Nashville Ramblers' "The Trains").
The sad thing is that, after bands like Badfinger, Big Star and the Raspberries crashed on the rocks, these sounds have not found the audience they deserved. Deep Sea Arcade are twenty-five, no fifty years too late. But lonely guys always live in hope.

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