Punk Against the Patriarchy
There is undoubtedly no better way to start a week than with some abrasive, ephemeral garage rock, and in this endeavor Deap Vally certainly does not disappoint. The debut album from the all-female LA punk outfit, Sistrionix is laden with heavy electric guitars and pounding drums that musically embody what is modern punk, with a stronger emphasis on the punk rather than the modern. Here exists one of the more unfettered punk outfits of recent years that make no attempt to dilute the raw power of garage-rock with outside influence; there’s a guitar and some drums, and that’s all that is really needed for Deap Vally to create music that pulls no punches and makes no apologies.
The style of music Deap Vally creates ties in well the lyrical motifs echoed throughout the album. Though the lyrics are sometimes difficult to fully comprehend due to the obviously noisy nature of the genre, the songs on Sistrionix deal with themes of female independence in an incredibly badass way. The repeated chorus of “Gonna Make My Own Money” (“You say marry a rich man / Find a rich one if you can / But daddy, don’t you understand / I’m gonna make my own money”) are inherently punk rock, and the move by Deap Vally to eschew a more pop sound in favor of something more in-your-face commands respect.
This is not saying that Deap Vally is hard to listen to, but rather the album shows more of an effort to return to the roots of punk music than other outfits of the last few years, which tend to fall more within the scope of noise-pop or power-pop. This is seen again in another highlighted track from the album, “Walk of Shame,” in which lead singer Lindsey Troy asserts both her independence and desire to live her own life after a night out. She barks out a sense of empowerment from her walk of shame (“Baby I don’t feel no blame / ’cause I got places to go / But I got no change of clothes”) oozing empowerment regardless of patriarchal judgment.
As is the case with most of the genre, the choices made by Deap Vally to create an authentic but modern sound quickly turn to noisy repetition, lyrically and instrumentally. As a debut album, this is not necessarily a bad thing as they establish a signature sound, but it seems that more effort could have been put into the structure of the songs to vary the continuous, non-stopping drive of the album. Overall, while the album does sound repetitive at times, the sound of Deap Vally is refreshing and authentic enough to merit a listen by even the more seasoned punk-rock aficionados.