by Jason Pettigrew
Pale-Blue TV Light
In the holistic-health field, there is a process called color
healing, which states that individuals with certain conditions should wear
colors that reflect a healing aura. Green is a preferred calming color, while
reds negate the process.
Metaphorically speaking, Deadsy are blue—ultraviolet blue,
the kind of color you find emanating from bug-zappers and off-brand
black-and-white TV sets. The group’s mix of ’80s electro-nostalgia and
down-tuned sludge on Commencement (Sire/WB) results in an album that’s equal
parts countercultural flair and glitz.
"We’re just a hybrid of everything we’re fascinated
with," offers Phillip Exeter Blue I, known to Entertainment Tonight
reporters as Elijah Blue, son of Cher and Southern-rock archetype Gregg Allman.
"No one ever thought to take Gary Numan’s keyboards and fuse them with
Morbid Angel’s guitars. I love greatness, whether it’s Rush or ABBA."
Elijah and Renn spent most of their prep-school years playing
Dungeons And Dragons, and thinking about how much of the mythology in fantasy
role-playing games equates to rock bands. So Deadsy—Elijah (a.k.a. The Earnest
Professor), Renn (a.k.a. Dr Nner), drummer Alec Pure (a.k.a. The Dandy) and
bassist Craig (a.k.a. The Beast)—set forth combining elements of glory days
gone by to their overcast ’90s groove.
"I think you have to have a passion for music to want to
take it to a superhuman, larger-than-life level," says Blue.
"I think it’s also important to leave a legacy
behind," adds Renn. "There has to be some underlying legitimacy below
the surface of rock and roll."
"It’s got to be more than just ‘rock and
roll,’" says Blue. "You want to inject humanity into it. I’m into
the idea of human triumph. And rock and roll carries a Shogun-warrior vibe. You
have all these outputs—music, videos and touring—all of which I believe are
breeding grounds for triumph."
But after all the manifesto-waving, style accidents (Elijah
once had the balls to wear a reverse mohawk, the ugliest haircut since the
mullet) and the idiocy of "how’s-yer-mom" questions have subsided,
the bottom line remains that Deadsy have served up an alluring, pale-blue album.
Their first single, "She Likes Big Words," is an unashamed rewrite of
"Rio," the famous battle cry uttered by those conquering huns of
history, Duran Duran. "Le Cirque En Rose" is an electro-glide that
evokes underground European synth-pop with posy Batcave flourishes. A cover of
the Sweet’s glam-rock classic "Fox On The Run" seems more like a
reclamation than a promotional certainty. It will be interesting to see if
Deadsy’s big dreams will manifest themselves in a small world.
"Who knows how any end result is going to be?" Blue
asks rhetorically. "David Bowie once said, ‘Artists make culture, critics
don’t.’ I volunteer that as a man of science."