KUMD Album Review: Deep State

May 3, 2017

Deep State's album Thought Garden
Credit Deep State

Deep State | Thought Garden

Athens, Georgia seems to be the music mill of the southeast having birthed acts like R.EM, Of Montreal and Dead Confederate, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Deep State formed in recent years as a punk band that’s got their toes dipped in southern blues with a love for 60s styles reverb. Thought Garden is their second album since their 2015 release Nice. Collaborative and introspective, the novel Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse sowed the seed for Thought Garden.

The past two years have shown lyrical growth for the band. From the thrashing guitars and spitting vocals of “No Idea” from Nice to its extension “No Idea pt. II” on their latest release, the rambunctious sound is still present, but a deeper value has wiggled its way into the lyrics. “Didn't you realize yourself the moment you realized others? Out then in. Beds are for bedlam. Out then in. Rooms are for rumination”

Lead singer Taylor Chmura says the introspective element comes from greater collaboration among the members. Instead of writing a song out and playing it verbatim, the scripted notes and words were more like a rough outline to stick to, as the practice spaces melded with new grooves and dips.

Themes of conflicting lifestyles, the artist vs. the thinker seem to be pulling Deep State in two directions. Their acid punk style about partying and their devil-may- care attitude contrasts with existential questions throughout the album, “If time is an eight on its side, are you suggesting it's even? If the world's so great then you die tell me, what could be the reason?”

Thought Garden ends on a slow build up. “Urn” is guided by melodic guitars and melancholic lyrics. The atmosphere shifts twice throughout the track with the line, “Sometimes all I hear is the blood inside my own head,” as a screeching guitar lines up with Chmura’s howl only to digress back to a soothing stupor.

Deep State combines their growing maturity as a band with the playfulness that comes synonymous with punk bands like Wavves in their latest release. The fast paced tracks that made up earlier endeavors move over for creeping, lethargic moments creating a larger sense of space within the 32-minutes of Thought Garden.