deadwater – “Purple Crosses” / “Shattered”

 deadwater – “Purple Crosses” / “Shattered”

deadwater – “Purple Crosses” / “Shattered” – Singles Review

The beauty is in the imperfection.

That line in the information I was reading stood out to me as I was diggin’ into the new music from deadwater…it’s the kind of statement that comes from a real place, and can actually be taken several ways.  You could look at it zoomed-in as it might apply to a song, or you can back it out further and look at it through the lens that examines a whole career.  No one’s perfect at the end of the day to begin with, and it’s even rarer to find any band step outta the gate without a single hitch.  Struggles are a natural part of the process, and important if you ask me.  But deadwater is correct y’all – “The beauty is in the imperfection” – to me, that quote symbolized how it’s crucial to enjoy the whole ride that leads to the results.  The one that includes the ups and the downs, the peaks and the valleys…all of it.

So…let’s temper some expectations here.  Dude just learned how to play guitar during the Covid-era, and beyond that, was clearly goin’ through some additional personal shit as this first song I ended up with called “Purple Crosses” was actually written by deadwater’s front-man pretty much straight outta rehab.  In the grand-scheme of things, that is newer than new y’all.  If you haven’t tried picking up an instrument before in your life, you’ll never know how difficult it can be…and credit where credit is due, the dude made it even more challenging by creating a band and writing tunes for your consumption all within the space of what, a couple of years?  None of that is easy, but you gotta start somewhere.  And where better to start than by heading into a Grunge-like vibe, where the beauty has always been in the imperfection?  I still gotta lay things out as real as I would with any of ya that end up on my playlist, but let’s also be fair too…it’d be outright crazy to expect everything to be completely flawless this early on into a career.  It ain’t about that at the start.  At the beginning, it’s about finding the reason to continue.

Anyhow…yes, things need work…but deadwater could get there.  As I listened to “Purple Crosses,” I can hear the influences…more Alice In Chains on this particular track than anything else, unless you wanna start climbing into the trenches of the Grunge scene and cite things like old Screaming Trees for the vibe or other stuff from Sub Pop for the loose way that it’s played.  All that’s good though…we’re all sums of our influences to a degree anyway, and these comparisons are names that are true to the era.  Identity in music is one of the toughest things to create, and more often than not, one of the things that comes last.  At first we play and sound like someone else, and that’s cool, that’s how we learn to do what we wanna do further on down the road.  “Purple Crosses” deals a lot with the theme of recovery, which I think many people can relate to…or at least they should…Requiem For A Dream should have taught you long ago that we’re all addicted to something.  Writing-wise, again, it’s true to the era.  I actually like the guitars quite a bit…the vocals stand out a bit more to me in the verses than the chorus, but that’s also true of the song as well…it feels like the verses are a bit more deadwater, as opposed to the main hooks of the chorus borrowing a bit more from the playbook of AIC.  All-in-all, it’s cohesive…and that’s saying something for a song & band that have really only been around for a very short time relatively…you’d be encouraged to keep going if you had come up with something like this on your first time out, know what I mean?  “Purple Crosses” is proof that it can be done…and from there, it’s all about refining this or that, and using more experience & time to your advantage as you continue forward.  My initial advice is to be aware of the real hooks and where they exist most…to me, they’re much more on display in the natural flow of the verses and in the guitar…that’s where the main pull is in this song and the identity as well.  So if you’re looking at things in that sense, pull another name outta the Grunge era and go from the Dave Grohl playbook…use the verses as your chorus, and then rewrite a whole new chorus to go with it that amps things up even more.  Other than that, just be cautious about making sure you’re not doing too much of what’s been done and walking off cliffs that so many already have…like, I hear a line like “tomorrow comes it’ll help you fly” and I’m like, what does that even mean?  I get what deadwater is going for there, but consider how many bands/artists have used the word ‘fly’ as their way out of saying what they really mean to say.  Trust me, if you haven’t noticed that before, you’ll hear it in every second song you hear for the next several years and you’ll find out what I mean soon enough – you’re welcome.  The point is the same one I always make here on these pages of ours – the more YOU that YOU put into YOUR songs, the better off YOU, YOUR music, and YOUR career are in the long run, because YOU own it.  We leave our stamp on the scene by doing things differently & improving on what’s already been done, but at the start of a career, you do your best to simply execute…deadwater has created a viable song in a Grunge style that people would listen to, and you can’t ask for much more than that at the start y’all.

I’d probably advocate on behalf of a track like “Shattered” being the better of the two tracks, or at the very least, the more accessible of the two overall in terms of what the masses out there would listen to.  A softer melody that’s more Grunge thematically than it is in sound, “Shattered” would have more in common with something off of Soul Asylum’s Grave Dancer’s Union than the majority of names I’ve seen listed in deadwater’s influences.  Anyhow…so…hmm…what can I tell ya about this second track…  I think it’s an honest song when it comes right down to it.  I don’t think it’s necessarily gonna set the world on fire, but it’s a real & vulnerable moment that gives itself the opportunity to make an impression on ya.  I really liked how the second verse took it up a notch, and I like a lot of how there’s a harmony vocal track in there, or double-tracked lead…you get it, whatever the approach might be, it works pretty well.  The writing itself, in context of the story behind deadwater and the alcohol addiction that ripped his family apart, is fairly devastating, but unafraid to be real about what has happened.  There’s catharsis in art, and songs like this are proof of that.  It’s not overly descriptive…in many ways, the most heartbreaking elements of what you’ll experience are actually implied more than they’re sung about, so there could potentially be some opportunity there for future songs to dive further into the details directly…but the imagery works, the melody is good, and the vocals hold their own well enough.  My best advice here would be to listen to everything between the one-minute mark to about 1:40 in – all of this song’s main strengths are right there, and more importantly, the blueprint forward from here.  Each time that “Shattered” breaks into its solo guitar instrumentation between the vocals, we absolutely feel those moments of self-reflection and connection through the way things are played…and that’s what a band like deadwater is going to want to capture the most to communicate heavy themes like these.  You’ll also find the most conviction in the vocals around that area of the song too as they head into the second verse…same thing, that’s the spark & strength you wanna capture on a recording.  It’s one thing to not feel like vocals are the main thing that deadwater does, but it’s another to just add’em in there without giving it everything they’ve got, right?  As in, be careful about adding things in that don’t add, because if they don’t, they’re probably taking something away instead.  So where things get a bit muddled towards the end of “Shattered” between the vocal layers & whatnot, you wanna rectify stuff like that by making sure that each part we hear is sung with the purpose & intent we know deadwater is capable of based on what we’ve already heard.  It’s about takin’ that big breath and keeping the focus as sharp at the end as it was at the beginning…and if that sounds like it’s easy to do, know that it ain’t.  It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes a whole bunch of gettin’ things wrong before everything comes out right.  All that being said, I feel like this band has got themselves a decent start here…everything improves as you move forward from performance to production, but if makin’ music is what deadwater truly wants to do, then we’ll hear that steady & gradual improvement as they continue to grow & evolve over the years ahead.

Find out more about deadwater at the official page at Instagram:

Find out what we do & how we do it at sleepingbagstudios, and be the next up on our pages by clicking here!


"I’m passionate about what I do, and just as passionate about what YOU do. Together, we can get your music into the hands of the people that should have it. Let’s create something incredible."

Send this to a friend