They may have formed to create a ruckus at Brisbane house parties but after nine years together and with their third LP ‘Bloody Lovely’ primed to follow in the slipstream of their previous two rabblerousing efforts; DZ Deathrays have well and truly propelled themselves out of their local scene to all four corners of the globe. Not bad for a two-piece that started out in grot-holes that now find themselves rubbing shoulders with Foo Fighters in the stadiums of their native land. ‘Bloody Lovely’ is a natural evolution from debut album ‘Bloodstreams’ and sophomore release ‘Black Rat’ but where those records were scuzzy and chaotic – ‘Bloody Lovely’ is slightly more refined, as far as a DZ Deathrays’ record goes. It’s still brilliantly loud and delightfully raucous but the craggy edges of their previous efforts have been ever so slightly smoothed off, making for a more expansive sound; one that easily fits the larger venues Shane Parsons and Simon Ridley now find themselves in.
The broader, more rock-centric sound kicks off ‘Bloody Lovely’ in the guise of ‘Shred For Summer’s primal yowl and a Led Zeppelin-style stomp al a ‘Immigrant Song’. It’s here where Parsons’ utters the first words of battling one’s inner thoughts “demons I got” which bleed through the record’s lifespan. A slightly more ragged ‘Total Meltdown’ follows, with a loose shimmy and shake, the notion of inner conflict crops up again “I know that when you’re feeling down/someone else is feeling more” albeit with a little kick up the bum to remind you that others have it worse than you. Thematically DZ Deathrays’ 2018 effort looks inward and outward – lyrics reflect on personal struggles as well as a wider world view. The punky, just-over-one-minute blitzkrieg ‘Bad Influence’ harnesses the two-piece’s rambunctious house-party trashing-selves with a political bite as Parsons barks “got problems with politicians on a mission to always ditch you” over rapid fire drumming courtesy of Ridley and a feral dose of guitar.
‘Back and Forth’ can be interpreted either way as the duo’s mouthpiece screeches “say you want it/the future is now” as the song reaches a euphoric peak before crashing into a sea of crunching riffs and pummelling drums – which has Parsons yelping “I don’t mind where we’re going/just not back and forth”. It would seem it’s better to focus on perpetual motion rather than a merry-go-round of bullshit.
‘Guillotine’ is bestowed with a hip-hop bounce – Ridley has commented that him and his partner in crime “found a cool Beastie Boys vibe” when crafting ‘Bloody Lovely’s 11 belters and this number provokes the NYC legend’s party stomp. Thoughts are turned inward as Parsons reflects “I don’t know how to help myself” as the track plays out in abrasive but danceable fashion. Things take a more personal swerve on ‘Like People’s disdain for…errr…people as a serrated siren-like riff pivots on pounding drums and a strung out vocal “I don’t really like people/such a thorn in the side of me”. Whereas a lithe, dirty funkiness fuels ‘Feeling Good, Feeling Great’s commentary on vulgar consumerism and a spoilt generation “you got everything and you still want more” barks Parsons, like a man who’s had enough of people not valuing anything anymore.
‘Bloody Lovely’ comes to an epic close via ‘Witchcraft, Pt 2’s colossal spaghetti western of mangled guitar, demonic vocals and pneumatic drumming. It’s as if DZ Deathrays have amassed all the facets of their exquisite sonic assault and squished it into just over five minutes of beautifully contained chaos. Dirty grooves plays off moments of stillness as Ridley’s drumming injects breakneck pockets of pace that’ll no doubt cause untold bedlam once this beauty is unleashed during their forthcoming gigs.
‘Bloody Lovely’ is just that…. BLOODY LOVELY.
Words and Thoughts by Adam Williams