U.S. indie-head Darwin Deez is on the cusp of releasing his fourth record 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart at the end of August. Ahead of this, we’ve heard a snippet in the form of lead single ‘Queen of Spades,’ and in all honesty it’s a bit of a damp squib.
Ever since his self-titled debut record landed in 2010, Deez has become renowned for his particular brand of subdued, guitar-based songwriting. His music can often sound meticulously crafted without being obtuse, lending itself to the casual listener and the committed analyser in equal breadth. In particular, his third record ‘Double Down’ is packed with fleeting moments of guitar brilliance, elevating his songwriting to something above other knee-knocking indie-rock contemporaries.
A subtle move away from this songwriting style is why ‘Queen of Spades’ falls a little flat. On a surface level, it sounds as it if Deez is attempting a more widescreen sound, with a sunny palette that echoes MGMT’s ‘Little Dark Age’ which arrived earlier this year. With this approach, however, some of that meticulous attention to detail has been waylaid. If this lead single is anything to go by, Deez sounds as if he’s at the point in his career where he’s looking to tread the line between dull conventionality and an exciting left-field streak. He may have stumbled over the wrong side of that line.
That’s not to say that on a macro level this song won’t find its footing – the title of the new record suggests a loose concept on the trials of heartbreak, which could provide a better framing for this fun but seemingly-inconsequential track. Hopefully, the rest of the album will present more interesting flourishes than this lead single does.