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Archetypes and Repetition

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Album Review

Deepfield's ambitious debut, Archetypes and Repetition, is the proverbial double-edged sword with its pluses held back at times by the very things that should move the quartet forward. Skidd Mills and Paul Ebersold certainly bring their reputation to the table but, like Phil Spector, their well-known "Wall of Sound" can also cloud a band's abilities. "Get It," as performed on this disc, sounds just like "44 Teeth," when the two songs are completely different. It drops in so quickly that non-fans won't be able to tell the difference between the two. Bob Ezrin knew how to pull those riffs out and let them rattle the speakers, but here the interesting guitar work of J. King and singer Baxter Teal III might as well be an outtake from Mills and Ebersold's work on Saliva's Survival of the Sickest. It is hard to distinguish the instruments with the quagmire of effects glossed over each title, a formula aimed at one audience, not many. Remember when there was the same exact guitar solo on a song on the New York Dolls' 1973 debut and a song on Grand Funk's We're an American Band, also from 1973? Todd Rundgren was the producer on both, but at least all he did was clone a guitar sound/solo, not an entire group. A tremendous piece like "Fall Apart" gets shredded in this hollow sonic cavern. Now perhaps that is commercial for 2007 and maybe it will strike a chord with the kids tuned in to this high-end treble-heavy morass, but the distinctiveness found in classic rock/pop songs like "Gimme Shelter," the Beatles' "Revolution," and the obvious prototype for this group, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," is missing in action. Oh for the days when a Clive Davis would let a bunch of name producers work on a Whitney Houston debut, garnering superb results. Butch Vig could have done wonders with "Into the Flood," the imagery straight out of the latest Harry Potter movie — "I wanna write your name into my flesh..." — and going retro with Todd Rundgren on a song like "The Bleeding" with his effective broad brush would also help lift this out of the Mills/Ebersold machine shop. It is said that the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie" cost $36 to $50 to record. A song that was fighting it up the charts, "Dominique" by the Singing Nun, could have been recorded for less. That "just turn the machine on and play" technique on the Beatlesque "Your Forever" would have helped Deepfield immensely with crossover potential. But this pretty ballad — which Paul McCartney could easily fit onto his next album — gets all filtered out. The songs are all succinct and fall around the three-minute range, but the problem is that deep into the album an episode like "The Silence" doesn't sound all that different from the opening tracks, and by aiming for one big audience now the future possibilities become slightly limited.

Archetypes and Repetition, Deepfield
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