Back in ’04, at the height of their 5-6 year whirlwind of indie success, wildly quirky and deeply beloved Dallas based garage rockers The Deathray Davies scored profiles in Esquire and People magazines and toured with everyone from Starlight Mint and The Breeders to The Old 97’s and Pete Yorn.
Then, after The Kick and the Snare (2005), frontman/founder John Dufilho and Co. went MIA (as the DD, anyway)…until now, with the release of 13 blasts of raw and edgy, sometimes sonically mystical, consistently fun and infectious retro-rock sunshine amusingly titled after the band’s belief that their decade and a half off was Time Well Wasted. Beyond that, they offer no real explanation for their absence doing other individual things beyond the powerhouse singer’s declaration “A 15-year nap…suddenly we’re awake.”
Lots of focal attention will go to the hard driving, punchy synth and guitar driven, British invasion driven “Then You Met Me,” and certainly the punkish opening track “Tapping on the X-Ray,” which begins with a trippy, off-kilter caress of Pink Floydesque ambience, gets the reunion off to a spirited start. Yet it’s possible that their real attitudes towards their disappearance and sudden emergence (and the way their fans who hung in there feel) are tucked into two of the album’s most intriguing tracks, the carnivalesque, retro-keyboard dominated “False Alarm” and the socially non-distant jangle fest “Talking with Friends.”
On "False Alarm," Dufilho defiantly declares, “If you want, I’ll get you out of here/We can disappear/We don’t know this crowd/And there’s no reason you should lose your mind.” On “Talking…” he recounts the activities of a bunch of peeps, but declares twice that Mark (whoever he is or represents) is a “no show,” a phrase repeated a total of seven times for effect – as if the band is in on it and enjoys teasing us about their absence.
It’s all in good fun, of course, and the good news about emerging again in 2021 is that they can include hip, contemporary references – as on the chipper piano pounder “I’m in Love With Alexa” (and who hasn’t felt that sort of never let you down comfort with her?) and the first strumming, then fuzzy guitar fired mid-tempo delight “Lucas, I’m in Room 39,” which requests, “Please bring hummus and the wifi code/I’ve got pita chips and weed.”
When The Deathray Davies wrap the set with the optimistic uptempo lift of “Trust Me Tonight,” we can’t help but give it a shot – because after listening to this incredible comeback set, we just don’t want another 15 years to go by before the next one.