Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based post-punk JOVM mainstays Russian Baths. And as you may recall, with the release of their debut EP Penance, the band — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — quickly established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound.
Building upon a growing profile, Russian Baths will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Deepfake through Good Eye Records next week. Reportedly, the album finds the members of the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays pushing a sound long rooted in juxtapositions to its extreme: feedback and dissonance seem to swallow softly whispered harmonies, arpeggiated synths and booming 808 like drumming are paired with angular and shrieking guitars, propulsive drumming and motorik-like grooves.
Often centered around surgical imagery, the album’s material touches upon themes of personal regret, cultural guilt, reflection on systems in collapse — and while evoking the zeitgeist of the moment, the material alternates between voices seemingly so close that they seem in the room right beside you and at other times, from an impossible distance. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previous singles. The album’s first single was the aggressively abrasive “Tracks,” which to my ears was one part post-punk, one part noise-rock and one part shoegaze that evoked the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust of someone, who has frequently been forced to ask difficult questions of themselves and their relationships with others. The album’s second single “Responder” found the band crafting an atmospheric track with elements of shoegaze, post-punk, brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock and Western Gothic in a way that brought Shadow on Everything-era Bambara to mind.
Interestingly, Deepfake‘s third and latest single “Wrong” may arguably be the most grunge rock-like song rebased from the album to date, as it’s centered around alternating quiet-loud-quiet sections, featuring fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Sonically, the song manages to evoke a slow-burning and seemingly unending sense of dread and unease of a world going impossibly mad before your eyes.