Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deviates "My Life" (1998) and "Time Is the Distance" (2001)

Here's a band that showed a lot of promise and disappeared with almost no notice. I suppose, you know, two albums, that's more than most hc/punk bands put out, so that's all right--but both albums are so good, it's just too bad they didn't stick around long enough to put out a third.

The Deviates, from southern California, put out their first record, "My Life," on Theologian Records, in 1998. Produced by Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise, it's sixteen fast songs, two minutes each on average, with lots of great riffs and very melodic choruses. "My Life," "One Day," "Classes," "I Remember," and "Land of Opportunities," are among the best tunes on the album, but really, they're all great, with the small exception of "Who's Johnny," which has such ridiculous lyrics, the music is somewhat overshadowed. Everything else, though, lyrically and musically, is fast, intense, and fun. A lot of their songs tell stories too; I like when bands do that.

Their second album, "Time Is the Distance," came out on Epitaph three years later, and it took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, and realized what a good record it was, I started listening to it even more than "My Life." The album features a very slick recording sound, which turned me off at first. Forgive the cliche, but there's something really cool about the "raw" sound of "My Life."

"Time Is the Distance" is good in other ways, though. It continues the storytelling style of the first album, and is much darker and moodier than "My Life." But that in no way means it's slower. They continue their style of fast, melodic hardcore, but there's something much more pessimistic about the album's lyrics. Kinda makes you wonder what happened to them, or to their singer anyway, in the three years between records. Standout tracks are "Come With Me," "Right Back To You," and "So I Become," but again, they're all good, with the exception of "My Crime," a lyrical misfire about how the singer likes to curse, and people shouldn't give him a hard time about it. Uh-huh. . . . Otherwise, great album.

I saw these guys a few times when they were together, and was disappointed to hear they'd broken up. I don't recall any kind of announcement; I just went on their site one day and saw that they'd thrown in the towel. It would have been interesting to see how they'd further develop their sound with a third album, but it was not to be. Check em out; definitely one of the more impressive, and rarely talked about, SoCal punk bands to come out of the late 90's/early 00's scene.

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