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Dead Gaze Crafts Psych-Pop Gems on “Easy Travels”

Sometimes, when life feels a little tumultuous, it helps to travel to a sanctuary. It’s that one place where a person feels comfortable, nonchalant, and unencumbered. That same comfort zone is the setting for Easy Travels, the latest release from psychedelic pop band Dead Gaze. Fronted by musician Cole Furlow, the group takes listeners on an unfiltered, resounding journey through decades, genres, and life’s bumpy yet enjoyable moments.

Dead Gaze was formed in the city of Oxford, Mississippi in 2009. The next year, the group released their first two albums End of Days, Why Not You and The Pride of Calling Panther Lake, along with the EP Group Tightener. Then, in 2013, they released their critically acclaimed LP Brain Holiday. Now, after three arduous years, Dead Gaze returns to the music scene with their new, expressive album Easy Travels, released on August 26.

Dead Gaze Creates Boisterous Yet Edgy Pop Songs

The opening track “Constantly Happy” begins with warbling electronic sounds seemingly pulled out of an ‘80s video game. It is quickly overtaken by buzzing guitar riffs and pounding drumbeats. Joining them are throbbing bass riffs and mellow, euphonious vocals. Chiming, ethereal keyboard synth chords then add a slight, spacey feel. Yet, between the main verses and the chorus, the guitar riffs shift from placid and serene to crunchy and angst-ridden. This highlights the subtle emotional tension buried within the song. Meanwhile, lyrics like “I really want to tell you all that’s on my mind / I really want to love you until the end of time” convey its more pure-headed, romantic intentions.

The next track “Wait for Nothing” takes a stylistic step back into the early 1990s. Grungy, fuzz-filled guitar riffs prove to be its most noticeable feature. Yet, layered underneath are heavy, reverberant bass riffs and powerful drumbeats and cymbal crashes. They provide a surging rhythm to this song. Not to mention that the bass and guitar riffs are loaded with drowning grooves. Furlow’s wailing vocals contribute another layer of immersive noise. This helps to fully establish the orotund piece of this song. The tune concludes with a fade-out drenched in reverb.

“Jump” opens with samples of quirky video game music. Sonorous bass riffs and clacking soon emerge and form a steady rhythm. Twangy guitar riffs then flow across and add a lingering echo to this track. Broody vocals further augment this echoing effect along with a wavering guitar solo between the 2:55 and 3:24 marks. However, the most intriguing aspect of this song is the mélange of clicks, chimes, and chirps produced by bells, mallet percussion, and keyboard that flutter all throughout it. They give the song a lighthearted tone that’s oddly reminiscent of the days of early childhood.

Another ear-catching track is “Bus Stop,” which mixes psychedelia and lo-fi with a few tinges of sci-fi music. Resonant bass riffs are strewn together with ringing drums and cymbal crashes. At the same time, chirpy, high-pitched synth sounds meld with mellifluous guitar riffs and wistful vocals to create a laid back, relaxing aura. All of these elements coalesce beautifully in the dulcet instrumental section past the 2:20 mark that carries the song to its end.

The album’s penultimate track “Wedding Bell” focuses on Furlow’s feelings about being married. It starts with a brief, chaotic interlude of melancholy keyboards, caterwauling screeches, and foggy distortion. From this sonic chaos emerges blaring, distorted guitar riffs followed by languid bass riffs and plangent drums and cymbals. As the song progresses, the guitar riffs become softer and more harmonious. Adding to that, Furlow delivers crooning vocals that display a wide spectrum of emotive force. Past the 3:30 mark, a stirring guitar solo escorts the song to a resolute fade-out.

With Easy Travels, Dead Gaze unveils a series of skillfully crafted pop songs with boisterous edge that’s certain to leave a glowing mark in people’s ears and their hearts.

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