Published May 01, 2015The word "indie" is a sweeping term that includes our local open-mic sweetheart and his or her favourite main-level band. It's lost its meaning, but in its bastardized new form, it's applicable to the kind of MOR rock songwriting that Los Angeles outfit the Dead Ships employ on their fifth release, EP 1.
The EP sends some pretty strong "indie" vibes, stylistically speaking: opening track "Big Quiet" has the lo-fi tendencies of Stroke tunes mixed with the less edgy, playful vocals of Foster the People songs; second track "Canyon" and fourth track "Tomorrow's Crashes" sound similar, like demos Julian Casablancas left on the shelf. The stand-alone original song on the EP is "Citycide"; it's a surf version of what feels like any one track from Torches, but producer Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene) and the Dead Ships add a bit of a dark, brooding atmosphere that's relatively absent from the Foster the People record.
On EP 1, Canning does a good job of getting the band members to explore what's out there for them in the indie sphere; he pushes for variety in album dynamics and vocal texture. But, in the end, these features are products of a band decorating what other bands' have already made. The songs aren't particularly strong, and even with the veteran indie rocker behind the boards, EP 1 is merely another "indie" release. (Near Mess Records)