Deaf Dance was formed in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles in Summer 2016. Jerry Narrows, former singer of Flaamingos (felte) was joined by promising keyboardist Hannah Doumitt and the two started crafting post-punk/darkwave music with a definite dreampop and shoegaze influence. Traces of early 80’s stalwarts like The Cure, Siouxsie, and Bauhaus can be heard as well as classic original shoegaze like My Bloody Valentine and Pale Saints.
After finishing a 4 song EP, Jerry and Hannah immediately went to work creating music videos, inspired by the works of their favorite film directors like Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, coming up with two dark pieces – “Beauty Slave” shot locally in Highland Park on a dreary day, and “Crimson Light” shot at a 19th century graveyard in Sierra Madre, CA. Deaf Dance later were amazed to discover they had just accidentally completed a video at the very location that David Lynch shot Laura Palmer’s funeral in the television show Twin Peaks.
Recently released, The Deaf Dance EP has been getting played by iconic Los Angeles promoter and DJ Michael Stock (Part Time Punks) on KXLU. The band has also been asked to do a coveted studio recording session exclusively for Part Time Punks and will do so in the near future.
“Broken Mirrors” opens with feedback and a catchy guitar riff with an upbeat tempo. Jerry’s deep vocals (not unlike that of Ian Curtis) are just as beautiful and catchy as the rest of the music, creating several layers that really make you want to dance. Hannah’s synths add a fantastic synthpop touch. Although the song feels uplifting, it has obvious postpunk influences. This track makes for a very smart EP opener; it reminds one of what Joy Division might have sounded like had Ian stayed with us. Half the instruments end before the last 25 seconds of the track and we get a clean listen of the darkwave influenced guitar, which fades into a hollow echo.
Without missing a beat, “Beauty Slave” opens with a doomy bass guitar and Jerry’s reverberating melancholy vocals. This track has a notably more depressing, darker tone than “Broken Mirrors.” A second guitar throughout the song is reminiscent of Bauhaus. I’d argue this is the most darkwave-influenced track on the EP, and among my favorites.
The mood takes somewhat of a left turn with “Sweet Sedate,” which sounds exactly like the title and has the most obvious shoegaze influence. The dual-layered vocals are much higher pitched than the previous tracks. Hannah’s synths are particularly strong and beautiful when paired with Jerry’s voice.
Onto my favorite track of the EP, “Crimson Light (Day of the Dead).” It’s easily one of my favorite songs with the Day of the Dead theme in general (the surplus of psychobilly DotD songs may have jaded me a bit). It has a traditionally sad darkwave tone to it, but it also combines the best elements that make up the previous tracks. Jerry’s range really comes into play here.