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JFH Staff Review


Deas Vail, Birds & Cages
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Deas Vail
Birds & Cages



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks
Street Date: October 23, 2009


How do you follow up what was possibly one of the most talked-about Christian indie-rock albums of 2007? Quite simply, by making it better; and that is exactly what Deas Vail has done with their latest release, Birds & Cages. Originally on Mark Lee Townsend's indie label Brave New World, the band was recently signed to Relient K-managed Mono vs Stereo, a wise move from the resurrected label.

The best way to describe Birds & Cages would be to not describe it at all and just play it. However, I will try to do it limited justice by saying that it sounds like Mae and Coldplay were combined at a molecular level, and then told to go indie. It's a sort of "piano-rock meets Death Cab For Cutie" sensibility, only with Christian morals and ideals. The album itself is an improvement over their debut LP, though rather in a more "evolutionary" rather than "revolutionary" sense. It's as if they sat down with their producer, said "OK, what can we take from our old album that was good, and make even better?" However, this is not a letdown in the slightest, given the quality of their first full-length album; therefore any improvements on it would only be for good. And in reality, it works like that. The vocals are more coordinated, the guitars punchier, and the group as a whole just sound tighter. Songs like "Excuses" and "Cages" are brilliant examples of this. I wouldn't say it's all sunshine and roses though, as a couple of the tracks (such as "The Leaper") tend to lose the listener as they ramble on as though on a musical journey without a map. Indeed, at times the entire album can feel a bit unpredictable. However, this doesn't detract overly from the album, as most listeners who put in the effort will find it easy to get over Deas Vail's eccentricities and learn to be accepting.

Deas Vail's latest masterpiece is eccentric, yet marvellous to behold. Not only that, but the songwriting continues to improve; some may note more Christian references within this time around. Although not perfect (but then, what album is?), Birds & Cages comes closer to it than its predecessor. I continue to be surprised by this under-hyped, piano-rock indie band, and eagerly await their next release.

- Review date: 01/11/10, written by Adam Dawson of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

JFH Staff's Second Opinion



Since rejuvenating Mono Vs Stereo records, Relient K released their sixth record on the label while also adding their first additional artist to the record company, Deas Vail. In many ways Birds & Cages holds true to Deas Vail's ambient pop-rock template which they laid on their previous album, All The Houses Look The Same. But, small changes have occurred, such as a slower tempo and a less sober tone contained on last year's White Lights EP. While lead-singer Wes Blaylock's high vocals are still somewhat of an acquired taste, his voice does mix perfectly with the many organic sounding, indie songs. The album opens with a strong, diverse collection of tunes ("Things You Were", "Birds", and Cages") early before rounding out the project with several terrific piano-packed indie ballads ("The Leaper" and "Atlantis" are the highlights). And throughout the album are flawless arrangements of violins and background vocals (including Matthew Thiessen of Relient K). Deas Vail also offers a very spiritually-minded album, and, while some lyrics are vague, there are obvious messages pertaining to salvation and true freedom. The lone drawback of one of the best albums of the year, Birds & Cages, is the listener must give the album significant attention to get the most out of Deas Vail's near flawless project. - 12/2/09, Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com

 

. Record Label: Mono Vs. Stereo
. Album length: 12 tracks
. Street Date: October 23, 2009
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. The Things You Were (4:58)
  2. Growing Pains (3:57)
  3. Excuses (3:18)
  4. Cages (5:08)
  5. Birds (4:51)
  6. Tell Me (0:48)
  7. Dance In Perfect Time (3:28)
  8. Sunlight (4:08)
  9. Puzzles And Pieces (2:51)
  10. The Great Physician (3:39)
  11. The Leaper (4:02)
  12. Atlantis (4:51)

 

 

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