Collaborative EP American Cockroach shows LA-based Deap Vally‘s evolution from their blues-rock roots.
“American Cockroach is a collection of songs we’ve been working on for a while that run the gamut from deeply personal, to outright satire and everything in between. These are songs for the underdog, the outlaw, the defeated,” the duo—Lindsey Troy (vocals/guitar) and Julie Edwards (drums)—explain.
‘Give Me A Sign’ opens with a sombre and reflective mood. It’s a departure from the high-tempo rock of their two albums Sistrionix and Femejism, underpinned by eerie and disconcerting keys. Troy’s vocals are really the standout of the track, showing a different side to her singing style and adding to the melancholic nature of the song. In contrast, titular track American Cockroach is urgent and energetic, touching on themes of being an outcast and underdog: “Low class, low class, low class / I can’t help it I was born in the trash”.
Since forming in 2011, Deap Vally have made a name for themselves with loud, energetic, and empowering blues-rock. However, American Cockroach is an exploration outside the confines of album-making. After releasing their last album in 2016, the duo has been a soul-searching exploration, leading them to team up with a plethora of artists.
From creating the supergroup Deap Lips, with The Flaming Lips, and their previous EP Digital Dream (seeing input from Peaches, KT Tunstall, Jamie Hince and Soko) the band has been busy experimenting sonically. Discussing the collaborative process of their recent interview with Paste Magazine, the duo described the process as very democratic and relaxed. “The whole approach to the collaboration was for them to be very democratic, and to be feel-good. Not like a tense environment, but just really a relaxed, let-it-flow kind of thing. Don’t get worried about genre,” they explained.
The open-minded approach to songwriting and genre is evident in the music. Lead single ‘I Like Crime’ (featuring Jennie Vee of Eagles of Death Metal) keeps the plucky and energetic guitar riffs but is revamped with basslines for added fullness. ‘Better off with Nothing’ sees the pair collaborate with Ayse Hassan of Savages to create a rumbling post-punk track, equipped with Troy and Hassan’s echoing vocals bounce off each other.
Outside of the expectations of producing albums American Cockroach, and its predecessor Digital Dream, show Deap Vally on a journey of exploration. Evolving from their roots to different instruments and musical styles, this EP shows a band exploring their musical style, while having fun with friends along the way.
Words by Brenna Cooper
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