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The Dead Science - Submariner

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Artist: The Dead Science

Album: Submariner

Label: Absolutely Kosher

Review date: Oct. 29, 2003

Sam Mickens, one night, decided that in order to completely betray everything he had been taught by Xiu Xiu front man Jamie Stewart, he had to create a band that was exactly what Xiu Xiu wasn’t. Mickens pushed aside the overdone emotionally jarring aspects of said band and created something that feels much less forced, and definitely more suitable for regular intake. Still, The Dead Science travels beyond the majority of Absolutely Kosher’s fine lineup in terms of sonic complexity – the stunning debut full-length merges pop, lounge, jazz, and, surprisingly, cabaret.

Submariner, at a glance, comes off like a drugged-up soundtrack to the ’40s film-noir classic Double Indemnity. There are often moments where it seems as though Pal Jenkins had quite a hand in this release, especially as far as the lyrics and overall instrumentation are concerned. Brothers Jherek and Korum Bischoff provide an atmospheric percussion section that exudes a love for jazz. Jherek’s standup bass makes one picture a lonely bassist at the back of a dark night club struggling to gain lucidness, while Korum provides drums that have a sound all their own. Korum manages to create a percussion section that is strangely reminiscent of a calm, less spastic Ron Avila from Get Hustle, if you can imagine that. Mickens softly whispers his vocals along side a guitar accompaniment that sounds vaguely similar to that of Sean Antanaitis of Love Life.

At times, The Dead Science sound undecided as to what their goal is. Most tracks contain a decent level of continuity, not straying too much from a common theme. However, moments after Mickens’ soft crooning and the percussion’s low tempo exchange lulls you into a meditative state, out pops an abrasive track seemingly contradictory to the rest of the album. “White Train” features frantic guitars and drums, which, if you can get over the initial shock, can be an enjoyable experience.

Absolutely Kosher has continually signed bands that sport unique takes on pop music. The Dead Science is no different. Aside from some repetitive imagery portrayed in the lyrics, the album as a whole rarely drifts away from what the band does best, and that is creating dreamy macabre pop music that begs further inspection.

By Andrew Sadowski

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