Coming Around Again

Rich Morel masterfully guides the new Deathfix, as Tegan and Sara mine new, more mainstream material

”I’m, out of my mind. It’s taking me over,” Rich Morel sings in the bridge of ”Low Lying Dreams.” And the song might have the same effect on you too. It’s both beautiful and eerie, a piano-based, string-swept ballad in the psychedelic/electronic rock mold.

And there’s plenty more where that came from on the self-titled debut from Morel’s new band Deathfix. In addition to Morel on vocals and keyboard, the band includes vocalist and guitarist Brendan Canty, previously known as Fugazi’s drummer, plus drummer Devin Ocampo and bassist Mark Cisneros, both from local garage-rock band Medications. Deathfix is a D.C.-grown affair through and through – signed to D.C.’s storied punk label Dischord, no less – and one certainly worthy of hometown pride.

Deathfix
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Dischord
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Obviously, you’ll need to get past any hang-ups you might have on account of the band’s name. The lively, wide-ranging, widely appealing sound will certainly help the cause.

Every listener is bound to hear different influences on the band, depending on their own biases. In my case, at various points on the self-titled, seven-track set, I keep hearing late-era Beatles, early Elton John, a hint of Radiohead, and a whole lot of David Bowie – and not just because there’s a hazy, progressive rock jam called ”Mind Control.”

There’s also another clear influence here that is directly name-checked – even playfully swiped at – on ”Dali’s House.” Remember ”Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” by LCD Soundsystem? Well, ”Dali’s House” is a spitting image of that catchy, funk-fueled electronic ditty, in which LCD’s James Murphy hilariously, hyperbolically boasted about throwing great house parties. Here, Morel metaphorically talks about the famous people he likes, or really would like to have inside him, his body as a home – from Jane Birkin to Kanye West to the song’s namesake Salvador Dali. And then, this: ”I wish I was, James Murphy’s house,” he talk-sings. ”Because you could steal ideas and Daft Punk’s always playing there.” Well played, Rich.

Deathfix ends with the nine-minute-long ”Transmission,” a song in three movements that ends in a trippy, even strung-out, prog-rock blissful place, complete with wailing saxophone, cacophonous guitars and what sounds ever-so-faintly like a bagpipe. By this point, if you’re not out of your mind, you’re not listening to it right.

DOWNLOAD THESE: ”Low Lying Dreams,” ”Dali’s House”