The band’s original line up included Matt Post on vocals, and Evan Moore on drums. They are affiliated with Peterborough record label Not Quite.
The record label also presents Watershed Hour, a Peterborough band consisting of the Mononymous Natalie and Laura Klinduch.
The record label Not Quite seems to be a sort of brainchild between Natalie, Klinduch and Post, as all music and related acts consist of some sort of combination of the three.
This first EP runs a modest 17 minutes. Seventeen minutes, being a relatively short amount of time, seems almost inadequate to cover or evoke any emotion from the listener.
However, there is something about Deathsticks’ sound that does evoke a very in-your-face kind of emotion.
This emotion, for lack of a better word, is the emotion of being empty. Every song plays into the theme of nothingness, nihilism and existentialism. The songs do not provide much variation in the way of ‘sound.’
Each song almost blends into the next with Post’s echoed rockabilly-style howls and yells.
The drumming is clumsy, and sometimes offbeat. The tempo slows and speeds up with no regard for the listener’s internal clock. It’s almost as if, in Deathsticks’ world, there is no time.
The lyrics, if there are any actual lyrics, are impossible to interpret, but rather Post’s voice breaks through a cloud of malaise to scream some sort of inward indication of pain, and then subsides back into the darkness.
This process goes on in a sort of loop, or spiral, of nihilist dreariness. Their sound seems to be covered in a layer of fuzz. Literal fuzz.
The genre itself is hard to pin down. The Facebook page for the band calls their sound “Power Slop” and “Garage-Noise Rock.” Those descriptions seemingly come from a sort of post-punk aesthetic.
Elements of punk, post-punk and grunge can be heard in the distortion of the guitars and the general fuck-it, fuck-you and fuck-off style. Deathsticks’ music exists within a genre that many musicians would be apprehensive to play.
This genre is without a name. It is blend of punk, grunge, noise and lo-fi. It is a genre in which the musicians themselves do not care about classification and, also seemingly, do not care if you even listen to the music itself.
The EP bumps along with this theme of malaise that is set up in the first few minutes. Around the six-minute mark, at the beginning of the song ‘Romp,’ the listener is put into a trance.
The wall of distortion and post-produced destruction trudges steadily along. Almost patterned breaks of vocals are heard, but in general the sound is very simple. The sound is very simple because it is just noise.
Music doesn’t matter. Noise is all that matters. Noise embodies all that we are, and all that we are is an overwhelming blend of disappointment, malaise and anxiety.
The album slows down slightly near the end with the songs ‘Bark Bark’ and ‘Crimes of the Future,’ but the theme of a hopeless void is completed, just as it started.
The same themes are carried on in Deathsticks’ demo fittingly titled ‘Demosticks,’ which was released in January.
Post is still on vocals here, but Klinduch replaces Moore on the drums. The sound is a little more polished, the void a little less dense and the dark and dreary do not envelope the listener as much.
However, that is not to say there is less emotion. This is quite the contrary.
Raw emotion seems to be what Deathsticks embodies; a raw, and visceral emotion that can only be expressed through noise, malaise and horror.
Throughout both of Deathsticks’ releases, it is these emotions that terrify and please the listener and slowly, but surely suck you in.