It’s always interesting when we receive a track for review where the band is made up of people from miles away from each other. Isn’t technology amazing? So when we received the latest song from Deep Talk, who are a duo from San Francisco and Portland, we were intrigued.
Deep Talk are Christina Li (San Francisco) and Portland musician Jordan Maslov. Together they produce an extremely unique lo-fi style of indie/ slacker rock.
For our readers who don’t know what “slacker rock” is, let us educate you (having just familiarised ourselves a little more with the dictionary description). Slacker rock is a particular style of lo-fi indie rock that was popularised back in the early 90’s. It consisted of bands who purposely played sort of sloppily, with slightly out of tune guitars being strummed loosely and lyrics being sung by singers who often didn’t have the best pitch control.
Deep Talk’s latest song, If I Said I Was Changing, is a perfect example of this genre. It makes you feel slightly uncomfortable with interesting note choices in the bass and guitar and a laid back approach to any kind of musical rules. If you didn’t know what slacker rock is, there are places where you’d suggest doing another take before committing to “tape” for all time.
This is an extremely experimental track where the vocals and guitar are competing for attention at many different points throughout the song. The electric guitar is a touch discordant and the choices of notes on the bass are interesting, to say the least. Jordan’s voice cuts through, front and centre throughout the track and his laissez-faire approach is simultaneously brave and charming.
This track has true slacker rock authenticity and a mellow swagger that we didn’t entirely get on first listen. On second listen, and having done a bit more research about this style of music, we can see that Deep Talk’s, If I Said I Was Changing is a perfect example.
There’s an interesting fuzz effect on the vocals, and we really liked Jordan’s use of triplet runs in some of the lyric lines, making the melody fun to listen to. The guitar comes in and demands your attention, forcing you to switch your focus from the vocals to the guitar riffs.
From a production perspective, some compression on the vocal track would help them fit better in the mix. Don’t be afraid to push for 5-10dB of gain reduction. The bass could use a cut around 75Hz to help reduce a slight peak there. A boost around 200-250Hz would help fill out the sound and increase the warmth in the low end. A boost around 4kHz would help increase the presence and definition in the track and a high shelf boost in the top octave would add to the brightness.
If slacker rock is your thing, then this is an absolutely perfect example of it. A lo-fi offering of deliberately muddled sounds that claws away at your ears and demands attention. In their own words, “you never know what to expect” and that is its charm.