LEFT OF FIELD (The Weekly Volcano)
Death By Steamship is full of surprises
by Adam McKinney
Oct 22, 2009
I don’t think I’m revealing any secrets here when I say that critics tend to get bored with whatever they’re reviewing. As their careers progress, whether they’re movie critics, art critics, or music critics, the appeal of left-field artists grows exponentially. Give the critic something he’s not expecting and the battle’s almost won. The challenge, then, is to make it good as well as surprising. As a critic, it can be a task to find these bands; it’s discouraging that it’s so tough. All of this was weighing on my mind when I stumbled across Death By Steamship.
I was immediately caught off guard by this band. Initially drawn in by their name, which may be my favorite of any band I’ve reviewed, my attention was quickly grabbed by their sloppy, muffled, drunken art-rock. The lead vocals are screaming proclamations buried beneath deceptively complex instrumentation that blends punk, jazz, and new wave influences.
“It was just kind of a cumulative thing at first,” says lead singer Jason Simplot, referring to how Death By Steamship found its sound. “It was a matter of us all getting together and deciding what we really didn’t want, and then deciding where we wanted to go.”
Death By Steamship is a very young band — they’ve only been around since June of this year. And, meaning this in the best way possible, the band sounds like it. Their music is so bursting with messy exuberance. It’s the sound of a band that hasn’t been around long enough to be afraid of risking the audience for the sake of pushing the envelope. Their forthcoming debut EP is a concept album about Seattle, and if that doesn’t speak to their ballsiness, I don’t know what will.
If you’re willing to follow, Death By Steamship will surprise you at every turn.