Blasting the volume and cutting the lyrics to a handful of words seems retrograde in these days when so many bands are embracing their inner maximalist. But somehow the Deaf manage to squeeze a hell of a lot of weirdness, mystery, and fabric-rippling volume into 26.4 minutes' worth of terse songs on their debut, This Bunny Bites.
The St. Paul trio filters and distills gleanings from grindcore, metal, and post-punk into down-tuned, buzzing riffs resembling the world's largest wood chipper snacking on sequoias. Their lyrics are at their best when they sound like overheard bits of bar-room bathos—"I love you so much, but you're going nowhere," drummer Jack Kalyuzhny sings flatly. Or when the singer treads the fine line between not- and batshit-crazy: "Hello pocket change, my TV's not paid for," grumbles bassist Stephanie Budge.
The best song on the disc, "Ready to Die," gains a lot by not having the words drowned out by the band's loudness—the effect is much creepier. Over a pummeling, circular riff, guitarist David Safar declaims his kinda-eternal love: "Ready to die. Die for you." "C'mon! C'mon!" retorts Budge, seemingly bored. I'm not sure whether she's saying, "Knock it off, bud," or "Well, get to it, then." I hope I never figure it out.
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