Published on November 19th, 2013 | by TLV News0
Record of the Issue: Dead Gaze – *Brain Holiday*
Earlier this year, someone clued Cole Furlow in to the fact that Sweet Tea Recording Studio in Oxford had some free studio time and he took advantage of it. Furlow has put out a few small, DIY releases in the past few years as Dead Gaze, but has never had the opportunity to put all his great auditory ideas into action until he got a hold of Sweet Tea’s sweet setup.
The resulting record is Brain Holiday, and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It’s poppy and catchy, for sure, but there’s a lot of rock ‘n’ roll in this record. Furlow shows his musical flexibility in more than just his vocal range – this isn’t one of those albums where every song sounds the same. And almost every song is a “feel good” song.
With reminders like, “When you grow up you’ll see all the things that you wanted to see for me” in the opening track (“Yuppies Are Flowers”), and “Believe me when I say there is absolutely nothing that can get in our way” in the following track (“Rowdy Jungle”), it’s hard to be in a bad mood while on this Brain Holiday.
“Stay, Don’t Say,” is a beautifully arranged, haunting track. After the intro we get a gentle, finger-picked guitar and wistful, sometimes layered main vocals that seem to take a backseat to the guitar and rhythm. Maybe it’s because, as the song urges, “Everything seems to fade.” The line that struck my chords the hardest, for whatever reason: “Now, drive my car – everywhere, too far.” In contrast the next song, “Runnin’ On The Moon,” is driven by powerful electric guitar and a great horn line. Continuing the obvious rock ‘n’ roll influence, “You’ll Carry On Real Nice” continues the awesome album with lots of distorted guitar. It’s a song about being let down, but it makes me smile, and I’m already singing along. Long after I was done listening to the album, my brain had me humming, “Feelings, my feelings, they’ve gone out the window.”
My favorite track might be the title track, “Brain Holiday.” It’s a short song, but a great end to an impressive album.
By the time I’d finished the album for the first of many listens, my music brain had made connections to many bands. Dead Gaze obviously draws influence and some character from music its members love, but I hate comparing bands to other bands; without speaking to the musician a writer never knows whether or not the artist will be flattered by comparisons. But I’d like to think Animal Collective and the members of Spiritualized and Ween and Oxford’s own former The Black and Whites would be proud of this record. I’m proud this record comes from Oxford – and, of course, it’s available for purchase in Oxford, at The End Of All Music on North Lamar.
Originally printed in TLV #191, published October 31, 2013. To download a PDF of this issue, click HERE.