Energetic post-rock and space grunge meets more trippy psychedelic influences in the intoxicating sound of Wigan’s Deepshade, who promise “a genuinely sonic experience that delivers something fresh to the British music scene.”
The band began with the bond between David Rybka (vocals and guitars) and Tommy Doherty (bass), who’ve been playing music together for over 20 years. They started out as a more folky arrangement called Victoria Dad, which had great success but their hearts were always set on a heavier approach.
They discovered that when they formed Deepshade and released debut alternative rock sounding album Everything Popular Is Wrong back in 2015. Three years ago they brought in Chris Oldfield on drums and have since been evolving towards a more psychedelic rock sound, which culminated in second album Soul Divider, which was released on Friday (21 June).
It opens up with the building intro to Airwaves, which eventually explodes into booming, fuzzy low-tuned guitars that are sandwiched by dreamy verses. Then City Burns opens up with an eastern sounding light riff with background reverb sounds, then the bass takes over the same riff, before bursting into a big opening riff. Lively vocals take over, with another cool eastern riff coming in to link into the second verse.
Keeping it hot, Burning Up begins with a cool guitar riff answered by guitar chords, which leads into a laid-back opening verse. It gradually builds in intensity, then a big guitar solo kicks in before dropping down into another laid-back, dreamy verse.
Arches of Innocence opens with a cool little repeating riff that bursts into heavier, fuzzy guitars then an atmospheric verse of dreamy instrumentals and distant vocals. The fuzzy guitars return as we’re taken into a rather psychedelic chorus, which ends on the earlier fuzzy guitar riff.
A personal favourite track is Sad Sun, which launches straight into a big rocky intro that gives way to a super-chilled, slightly trippy opening verse. The big guitars suddenly return alongside heavier vocals, then picked guitar notes and a big sigh give way to a huge chorus supported by pounding drums and heavy guitars.
If dirty fuzzy guitars are your thing then the album’s title track Soul Divider is certainly one to check out, as is the interesting Monster. The latter begins slowly with three minutes of laid-back vocals and light guitars that’s suddenly replaced by booming guitars and vocals then a delicious darting riff, then comes to a close with a mellow ending.
The album closes in style with Ganzua, which opens with a light guitar lick that continues under seriously good booming guitar riffs and basslines. The delightful booming guitars continue through a lively opening verse then wild cries of “Ganzua.” The rockiness continues and culminates in a big wah-infused solo, which ends on repeating, descending guitars that gradually wind to a halt, then drop into a trippy, eastern sounding section.
But that doesn’t last long as we’re treated to a huge piercing guitar solo over big rocky guitars and pounding drums that bring the album to a mightily impressive end. We promise you won’t be able to stop banging your head in appreciation throughout this superb six-minute-long final track. Check it out below:
On the album, David told us: “We are extremely excited and proud to see the work come to fruition. It’s our best work to date and I think anyone who listens to it will hear the intense creativity, the soul dividing journey it takes you on. It’s been two years of intense labour and we’ve definitely progressed and changed our music tilt slightly towards a slower, more psychedelic, space rock grunge sound.
“It’s a genre that’s still relatively underground in the British music scene, although it’s growing into a very strong up and coming scene. The best bit is that it’s not mainstream yet, but the charts are, is in my opinion, full of pap when you consider influences that the younger generation could/should be having.”
David tells us that travelling the world has evolved his musical approach, building on original influences like Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Nick Cave and many, many more. As he explains: “Everything from 1920 dance hall, classical, eastern mantras to folk music from the 60s, country, Americana, punk and Motown funk. My grandad was a big influence and he used to say ‘Everything influences everything, always keep listening – whatever it may be.
“Poets have played a strong influence, such as Lawrence, Hunter S Thompson, beat poets and William Blake. Soul Divider is exactly that – when your world is thrown upside down and you feel you’re at the point of no return. Hang on there is always a light to reach for and grow to and divide your soul for. A better, stronger more confident one.”
He also explains there isn’t a specific topic or theme behind Deepshade’s music, and they like to leave things open to the listener’s own interpretation. He tells us: “The inspiration I take to write can be from the most mundane observations to the insane thoughts, quandaries and heartbreak (such a cliche) that riddle through my brain and are always based on real life.
The majority of the time the songs are influenced by my experiences of major breakups causing horrific black holes and intense loss. Typically, the music comes first and then I’ll write the lyrics from there. Poetry has been a big factor in my life and the scribbles I note down regularly help me channel my thoughts in the moment. The album hopefully delivers to show the listeners that something fresh, vibrant, energetic, balls-out, dare to be different and originality is the key! Don’t be afraid to create your own sound.”
Soul Divider is proof of that last point. Deepshade went away for a few years and honed a new sound that has worked an absolute treat on this album. It fuses moments of psychedelia with pure heavy-hitting rock, and we firmly recommend giving it a listen. However, their more alternative rock sounding debut album is also well worth a listen, particularly the excellent track Tattoo.