The last few weeks have been super busy, as you may have noticed from the complete dearth of posts over the month of March. Between hosting house shows, setting up a dozen more for the coming months, starting a new job and doing another on the side, the juggling and switching of hats left Cause A Scene on the back burner for a while. An album that has been by my side guiding me along through the ebbs and flows of life, however, has been Deep Sea Diver‘s “History Speaks”. I am constantly moving on from one album to the next, but my favorite-Seattle-band-of-the-moment has grabbed a hold of me and refused to let go.
Fronting the band is a name you might not be familiar with but who has played alongside some of the biggest names in indie music: Jessica Dobson. Throughout the years she’s played with Conor Oberst, The Shins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Beck (need I say more?) and you can catch just a little bit of their influences throughout the album, but Deep Sea Diver and this album are far from copycats. This is an album that stands completely on its own and separates itself from the crowd, mostly because of the sheer magnetism of Dobson’s voice that is an instrument all its own.
Just like my life has been lately, there is quite a bit going on throughout the course of the album’s nine tracks, but it’s Dobson’s voice that carries each track along and is able to cut through all the background noise like a knife through a perfectly-cooked filet. As another blog put it, Dobson is a “mega-talented, guitar shredding, key pounding badass chick.”
She is all those things and more and through touring with several hugely influential artists, you get a sense of true professionalism on this album. It doesn’t really feel like a debut at all. It feels like a masterpiece that has been incubating for years, only to reach its prime value now that it’s been released.
Whether it’s on ballads like “Tracks of the Green Line” and “The Watchmen” or hard-charging punch-to-the-gut songs like “Ships” or “You Go Running”, Dobson and her backing band consisting of her husband Peter Mansen and John Raines pull off a sound that feels completely effortless. Each song has somewhat of a menacing, almost haunting feel to it, but at the same time pulls of a surreal beauty that brings light and textures to each composition. For years, Dobson has been in the background of great bands, waiting her turn, keeping her dream alive, keeping it moving along (to paraphrase and recontextualize her song “Keep It Moving”), and with this release, I think it is safe to say that Dobson and Deep Sea Diver has stepped out from the shadows and is poised to be a breakthrough band in 2012.
“History Speaks” is available on the band’s Bandcamp page as a digital download for only $10. It will be the best Hamilton you spend for a while.