The “Americana” pedigree of Nashville’s The Deep Vibration is well documented: from striking vocal similarities to the West Coast balladry of Neil Young, down to their placement among key contemporary figures like Wilco. Those aspects should be enough for alt. country fans and dust-bowl illuminati alike.
Gillian Welch makes a guest appearance on their debut for those who require even more validation. But for me, The Deep Vibration ain’t no Crazy Horse. Rather they are a two-headed leviathan, surfacing to destroy the rest of our listening vessel and plunging us to further depths unveiling a darker subtext underpinning Veracruz.
One head sings to us through the tension and squeak of recording studio analog tape machines. In this voice we hear what we want and expect to hear. The lilt of Matt Campbell’s vocal soars and quivers over the weight of the combined rhythmic synergy of Luke Herbert and Adam Binder. Campbell sounds as if he is begging for our forgiveness while the attack of Jeremy Fetzer’s lead assures him that somehow he’s worthy. Highlights of great songwriting are “Third Day of July” and “Tennessee Rose,” though the added elements of production and arrangement are distracting at times and detract from the poignancy of the lyrics and power of the performance.
The other head, when it’s not trying to devour its partner, screams to us violently out of the same well-traveled musical homage.
It’s impressive that there is so much for everyone who likes music in this five-song EP. If The Deep Vibration’s plan was to leave us wanting more, it’s succeeded.