The Frights/Death Lens// DeathFrights
Post Mark Records
The Frights: 3.5/5 Death Lens: 2.6/5 Pies
Recommended Track: Drag
Neat-o in theory but only in theory, this split single from tour mates and best buds The Frights and Death Lens is a lopsided listen due to the simple reason that the Frights are a way better band than Death Lens.
The idea behind DeathFrights — three originals and one cover of the other’s songs from each band plus one done by both—is clever enough beyond its probable origins in a bottle of whiskey and late night bro-downs, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Frights outpace their compadres at every turn, relegating Death Lens, who are a good band, to the regrettable position of less-cute-best-friend.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the covers done by each band. The Frights punch up the pace on Death Lens’ “Drag,” injecting sparkly surf tones into the original’s crunchy garage, adding a capacious rave-up outro and making the song their own. It’s the highlight of the split. Death Lens, by contrast, sounds draggy and slow-paced on “Wow, Okay, Cool,” a cover that sounds like a cover.
There’s also the fact that the Frights are maturing at a far greater rate than Death Lens, which is markedly apparent in their originals. In “Kids”, the Frights forsake their usual fare of songs about fucking and getting fucked up for: “Have you ever felt the pressure building in your brain/ Growing up is suicide and its driving me insane.” Um, hello Holden. “Just Call It Balls” is the Frights shambling over a a broken relationship, sounding further away than they ever have. Here the band subtly bends their sound to suit a widening horizon without losing themselves in the process.
Death Lens can’t compete, even though all their originals are perfectly serviceable slabs of lo-fi garage-punk that would probably sound terrific on their own–”No Colt, No Johnny” is good, dirty fun, and I like the handclaps on “Rats.” However, what they’re offering up is so indistinct, it’s like being served a leftover slice of birthday cake the day after the party–no matter how good it may be, you’ve already had your fill. But don’t be too sad, boys. Worst song on the split goes without question to the collab between both bands, an inconsequential acoustic dealie about an overbearing, two-timing girlfriend that features the boys harmonizing the lyrics “She makes me gay,” which would be humorously offensive if it wasn’t so dumb.