Death Lens // Trashed
Sin Verguenza Records
Recommended Track: Warm Lies
Shit, I have a feeling that 10 or 15 years in the future Death Lens will be one of those bands that will leave people mystified as to why they weren’t given their dues back in the day. I mean, all the essential components for a good band are there: fuzzy and mangled guitars, thick and wooly bass, heavy drum work that *gasp* elicit more than head-bobbing and rapid fire vocals that bring to mind a wasted and punch-drunk Buddy Holly. Clearly they aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel. Far from it. However, as time marches it’s possible Death Lens will be dug up and offer something for eager ears looking for life beyond Ty Segall.
Trashed is a solid effort if only because where other groups would opt to dump all their ideas onto a 4-track machine in a single afternoon and send it off to press the next morning, or even worse, try and manipulate a sterile mix to sound as close to that lo-fi process without actually having the tools to do so, Death Lens instead chose to put out a professional and polished-sounding release. Of course this doesn’t excuse the tired practice of piling tons of reverb onto the vocals, which winds up submerging a lot of the lyrical content into a swampy and garbled abyss. Nevertheless a couple tracks rise above this fault with their inherent catchiness, the most notable being the title track. It would appear that the band realized this as well, having made the track available for free apart from the EP in its entirety. “Trashed” winds itself up and reels you in with a two-chord progression only to unload a twangy and inviting surf lick before letting loose more of the same hopped-up energy that the intro promised — blink and you’ll miss it — it’s a heavy and highly-enjoyable track that I wished were just a little bit longer, like my personal favorite “Warm Lies” which stands apart from the rest of the EP with a wonderfully off-kilter and anxious-sounding 12 string guitar track present throughout the song. The slightly-out-of-tune bass playing also helps to give the impression that Death Lens are a bunch of dudes honing their craft in an endearing and completely honest way.
If this 6-track EP is another step towards a forthcoming full-length I would hope that by that time Death Lens find an identity to call their own. With an apparent knack for musical hooks and the kind of genuine and infectious energy found on Trashed, it feels like a bit of a let-down for the band to be stuck without a unique angle or component in their music to separate them from every other punk-inspired, binge-drinking LA-based neo-garage rock band with material tailor-fit for a totally “sickradbro” skate demo reel.