Dead Space are an Austin, TX based trio consisting of bassist/vocalist Quin Galavis, guitarist Garrett Hadden, and drummer Jenny Arthur. The band have been together for years (honing their craft since high school), but have yet to release a proper full length. After a single on Hadden’s label (Thread Pull), the group are ready to release their debut Faker for Gerard Cosloy’s 12XU. Dead Space are not shy about wearing their influences on their sleeve, and this is apparent right out of the gate.
“Fall Away” opens the record, with Galavis admirably creating a near carbon copy of Peter Hook’s bass tone from “Disorder”. Thankfully, the song steers in a different direction. Galavais’ vocals, like Ian Curtis’, are transparent but engrossing. The call-and-response chorus that leads the song is unexpected, and the blown out guitars completely modern. You never get the sense that the band is trying to borrow the sounds of the past as much as they are finding a place for it in the now. This is no small feat, considering the widespread influence of post-punk as a genre exercise, and how easy it is to regress within its confines. Faker is informed, but smart enough to avoid nearly all the cliches.
Being that this is their first record, the Cosloy connection is also an important one in giving a sense of place to the band. Through his 12XU imprint, the Matador co-founder has done a wonderful job of releasing notable records by seasoned veterans from other regions (David Kilgour, Joel R.L. Phelps) and newer Austinites (Burnt Skull). A quick browse through the 12XU online shop (http://www.12xu.bigcartel.com) shows the diversity and curatorial expertise that has gone into the label, and Dead Space fit in well by not fitting in.
Halfway through the album, Dead Space enter with the album’s most languid song, “You’re Fake”. It’s also the least indebted to the forefathers that inform the tracks before it. Equal parts Dinosaur and Homestead-era Sonic Youth, it’s a grimey piece of antagonizing rock that does a fine job of dividing up the record into halves.
Faker is about as good as one can hope for in a debut, full of great songs and unexpected turns. Let’s hope Dead Space work on a stricter timeline for their next album, and shave a year or two off their schedule.