Preventer – The Club Downstairs – Review

Preventer - The Club DownstairsA multi-faceted shoe-gaze rock project out of York, UK, Preventer recently released its new nine-song album, The Club Downstairs, on July 1. All of the music on the album is written, performed, and produced by Deedee Ashlee.

Preventer – The Club Downstairs

The first track on the album, “Music For Mental Cases,” starts off with a fast-paced bass drone picking away at an escalating rate, but with muted volume until the drums finally kick in four on the floor. As the volume and intensity builds, other timbres of strings and guitar appear on the horizon until the drums smash into a reeling rock drumbeat full of crashing cymbals. Deedee Ashlee delivers the lyrics with a very deep vocal range in a monotone demeanor similar to the lead singer of Depeche Mode. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand the lyrics, as if the words were a ghostly voice warbled around in one’s head while they were on an acid trip.

The drums and guitar bring this danceable indie rock song to life. Although the production is dense at times, the music carries you away with its thrashing break beats and lush guitar chords.

“We Were Here But Now We’re Not” kicks right in with explosive horn lines, but the volume’s a little hot on the gain in the production. It would help to even the levels out a bit in general. All the music is very drum-forward, the kit always playing at lightning speed and driving the energy ever-forward in intensity. While singing the lyrics, “Who are you really? Who are you?” Ashlee dives into a deep, dark vocal delivery with a Metallica-esque “eah” at the end of the words. There’s an exciting interplay of major and minor harmonies between the verses and choruses, so each time we switch sections it feels like a smooth dip down into another level of go-time. The song is a very danceable form of energetic electronic goth-rock. It seems as though Ashlee’s songs are all very intentionally planned because they have final endings that are abrupt yet make the song feel totally complete, and they go balls to the wall in energy from start to finish every time.

“Don’t Change the Decision” is a breath of fresh air because it features a brighter vocal delivery, sung more up in the higher part of Ashlee’s register as opposed to the usual low end they seem to be stuck in. This song’s instrumentation also has a more uplifting guitar energy and spirit than the other songs on the album, still fast-paced guitar picking but with more breadth. Again, the drum crashes are constantly driving the energy of this band, but in this case the song is more of a pop-rock format than the other songs. The melodies and harmonies are bittersweet but catchy, keeping you dancing on and on. At the end there’s this cool repeat of the phrase, “Don’t change the decision” four times and then suddenly the song ends succinctly on the phrase, “Change the decision now.”

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