Deap Valley (Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards) open their new EP American Cockroach with a desperately simple request: a modest prayer on opening song “Give Me a Sign” carried aloft the duo’s potently conjured melancholy. The woozy ballad is the only moment of calm from the wild-eyed and strident rock that dominates the rest of the EP, but the existential dread and disillusionment towards a world unrecognizable that seeps through fuels everything that comes after. On American Cockroach everything from the duo’s howls to their blistering rock ethos screams a belief that the enraged, the downtrodden, the outcasts outnumber the bastards trying to keep them down.
On the eponymous track “American Cockroach” thunderous bass riffs and clamorous drums detonate alongside the duo’s cries. “Drop the bomb on me” they demand, slinging their anthem of tenacious survivability right into the stuck-up elitist faces of the kind of people who divide the world up into categories of people they can look down on.
Then there is the rollicking blitz of a track “I Like Crime,” which sees Troy and Edwards join forces with partner in crime Jennie Vee (Eagles of Death Metal bassist) on a song that dives into the nuances of what’s considered right and wrong, legal or illegal — ultimately painting a stark understanding of the lengths people will go to defy in order to live true to themselves (“I’d rather lose my head than my mind,” they wail). The video for the single, directed by Ambar Navarro and shot on 16mm film, spoofs the song’s exploration of crime with Vee traversing scenes straight out of a campy horror B-movie.
On closing song “Better off with Nothing” the duo along with Ayse Hassan find themselves much in the same place as when the album started, cloaked in the anxious hopelessness of the sense that something is desperately missing from our lives, leaving us to pine for the elusive happiness that other people seem to so easily find.
Meeting despair and pain with resolute and defiant perseverance, Deap Valley crystallizes a moment of intense feeling that might’ve been catalyzed by the events of the last year. But American Cockroach makes it plain that the frustrations of those being stepped-on and those doing the stepping have always been one of the undercurrents coursing through our world — and it soaks that angst in the duo’s raw emotion.
American Cockroach is “a collection of songs we’ve been working on for a while that run the gamut from deeply personal, to outright satire and everything in between,” the L.A-based duo said in a statement. “These are songs for the underdog, the outlaw, the defeated, for days when you feel like no one understands you or you can’t do anything right.”
Listen to Deap Valley’s new EP American Cockroach below!