Breath and Bone

Apr 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Honestly, when this reviewer first looked at the debut CD from the Grosse Pointe-based Decks and read over the accompanying press release, he groaned. Was yet another local garage band with a "the" preceding their name hanging onto the ever-fraying remains of White's Stripes? That Jim Diamond and Eddie (aka brother of Jack White) Gillis handle production duties did nothing to calm those initial fears. And that the foursome is fresh out of its teens made for a strong shiver; the Displays and the Muldoons, after all, are already providing the city's garage scene with enough youth injection. So I sat back in my office chair, sipped at my tea with careless abandon and prepared to be sent into a tedium-inspired coma.

Shame on me. And kudos to the Decks for the surprise (something that, 10 years into a rock writing career, few bands manage anymore).

The secret to the Decks is their apparent and obvious love of surf acts from across the decades, including such past greats as the Ventures, Dick Dale and the Barracudas. The riff on second track "DTC," for example, is pure Dale, although the stunning guitar work is complemented by Alex Glendening's manic vocal delivery. This garage-surf amalgamation is then made all the more fun by the addition of female backing vocals, courtesy of Maria Nuccilli (also the drummer), Molly-Jean Schoen (also a guitarist), Ellen Chamberlain (yet another guitarist) and, in the case of "Bad Taste," one Mia Gillis. The ladies lend the band an early '60s girl-group feel, a la the Ronettes or the Shangri-Las.

The whole combination is positively intoxicating. That they've added a completely fresh twist to the familiar Detroit garage rock sound is exciting, to say the least. Let's not jinx them by boldly predicting success. But, at least to these ears, the Decks are among the best new bands to have danced out of the city in some time.

Brett Callwood writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].