Okay, at this point, do we need to qualify the disparity between where a band lives and its sound anymore? The Internet has seemingly dissolved regionalism (for good and bad). So when we get a trio from Kentucky that sounds like a minimal-clean, Yo Gabba Gabba-fed version of nth generation No Wave, with a singer, born in Louisville, KY, but sounds like Nico (and claims she hasn’t heard the Velvet Underground much), then geography’s not really a quirk worth going on about, is it? The Debauchees’ music is similarly just barely at the “going on about” point. Everything in their nearly nervous herky-jerky is a bit too “almost” and “slightly” and “nearly” on this debut. But Big Machines and Peculiar Beings (SonaBlast Records) is a debut after all. And given the Internet Age’s pathological need for newness, Debauchees might splinter off into remixed side projects before you finish this sentence. But hopefully they get a few more tour miles under their legs, some cheap wine in their bellies, and their sound gets life-smacked past the “almost” stage.
It is pretty cool the way they don’t let a song settle into the same rhythm for too long, most fluidly accomplished on Jack and Whatever Just Go With It; then a bit awkward on Television, Rancid Dancin’ and Stiffness, where the shifts are more flow-stunting than quixotic.
Paradoxically, the quick tempo shifts stick best in the sexy little strolls like Sometimes I Think and It’s All Endorphins. On I Just Sit Around, a ska beat quickly drops to dark vocal/string picking and back again. And just as you’re about to write off the Debauchees as not sufficiently debauched, singer Sydney Chadwick gets a little testy (I’ve Got Energy, Mathematics), drolly dropping dust-offs like, “You’re never gonna get closer, why should you even try?”
In “Rancid Dancin’,” Chadwick claims, “I’d rather not go out dancing. There’s too many people watching me.” Well, if they play away from their ol’ Kentucky home some (regionalism still counts in that way) and thicken up their sound a bit, she might not have a choice but to get used to those peeping eyes.