Blue Skies, the latest from Chicago’s Dehd continues the band’s melody-heavy, jangly indie rock vibes they established on 2020’s Flower Of Devotion. The powerful, raspy howl of singer/guitarist Emily Kempf continues to amaze and astound, while the rhythm section of Jason Balla and Eric McGrady lay a solid foundation for the songs to spring forth from.
Flower Of Devotion had a more raw feel; the sound of a band of making their presence know through volume, visceral performances, and songs that splayed raw emotion unabashedly. Blue Skies sounds more produced, more thought out. The band still leans heavily into that sort of Phil Spector Wall-Of-Sound spirit, giving us songs that could’ve come right out of the early 60s. But this time around the songs are peppered with late 80s/early 90s college rock spirit. Pixies, REM, and even Siouxie Sioux come through. Blue Skies is the next step towards Dehd’s world domination.
All you really need to know is that the songs are here, and they want to live in your head for years to come. “Bad Love” is the kind of song that will keep you driving as it plays even if you make it to your destination before it ends. It’s the kind of song that pops up and ears instantly perk. The drums and bass have that late 80s college rock vibe, while Emily Kempf’s glorious voice cuts right to the core. It’s the kind of song that ends up on mixtapes for years to come. “Clear” is unabashedly dream pop, hanging its hat somewhere between Cocteau Twins and Breeders.
“Memories” has a late night sway to it, and the added keys give it a slightly dreamy feel .”Palomino” has a No Joy vibe to it, with pictures of Ghost Blonde dancing in my head. “Stars” is all strutting attitude and Kempf locks into the spirit of the Pretenders. I could hear Chrissie Hynde making this song her own.
Blue Skies sounds like an album where Dehd is focusing in on their own brand of music magic. They’re honing in and bringing their sound to light, feeling more free to explore and have fun. If jangly, jagged pop songs are your thing, look no further than Blue Skies.