As much as surrealism has been trending among indie pop and rock groups in the U.S. and U.K. in the last few years, there haven’t been very many acts of note to have known how to properly apply the aesthetic in the fashion Ready, Steady, Die! do in their new single “Deep.” In “Deep” and its righteously intense music video, Ready, Steady, Die! make their goals as a group more than clear to the audience – to combine the best elements of a surreal pop sound with a dark side of indie rock that hasn’t had many champions in recent times.
This song produces a limited tension in the structure of the main melody, but the verses are built upon a pressure that only grows stronger as we get deeper into the track. For Ready, Steady, Die!, the attitude with which they’re playing this material is what gives it all of its muscularity – literally nothing in the mix could be described as brawny – and by the time we reach the conclusion of “Deep,” it’s as though we’ve listened to two different singles at once. One is influenced by the enigmas in contemporary pop, while the other is too sharp and vicious for mainstream consumption.
The vocal could have used a little more volume towards the finish line here, but I can wrap my head around the idea Ready, Steady, Die! went with instead. In keeping everything rather muzzled, there’s a lot of allusions to grandiosity that could be born of a live stage performance of the song. Similarly to the classic grunge band the Screaming Trees, this is an act that constructs its studio material with as soft a touch as possible – basically to relieve the sense of unfinished business that produces in a concert setting (which I can only imagine them dominating with talent like theirs).
There’s no need for debating whether or not the music video for “Deep” is as potent a cocktail as the song is on its own, and I really like the fact that it’s quite obvious Ready, Steady, Die! were not overthinking any of the visual components that comprise its most fascinating moments. They aren’t dependent on any sort of over the top theatrics, but instead the moodiness of the washed-out colors and noir-like forest imagery, all of which falls in line with whatever part of the track we’re at in that moment. It’s thoughtful but not self-centered, which is a difficult combination to find anymore.
Equal parts Nick Cave and elements of Timber’s The Family, Ready, Steady, Die! are definitely a pair that I would recommend keeping a close eye on in the future, as they deliver the kind of memorable single and music video in “Deep” that I can’t imagine critics overlooking when it comes time for yearend accolades. With all of the indie talent breaking out of the underground right now, it can be difficult to keep up with who to listen to and who to dismiss, but with a song I don’t see anyone successfully replicating on their own, it will be hard for fans and industry followers to ignore what this act is putting out in 2020.
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