Infectiously off-kilter, Hackney-based queer punk trio deep tan have re-emerged with their sophomore extended play, diamond horsetail; five minimalistic DIY tracks of uncompromising post post-punk. Following the shimmering psychedelic pop of 2019 singles ‘Air’ and ‘Shimmer’, and the haunting discordant hooks of their subversive debut EP – 2021’s creeping speedwells – diamond horsetail propels deep tan’s otherworldly sound into the exosphere through dissonant guitar riffs, eccentric bass-lines, syncopated rhythm, and intimate vocals. Embracing the seductive allure of their swirling sound, guitarist/vocalist Wafah Dufour, bassist Celeste Guinness and drummer Lucy Rushton will hypnotise listeners into questioning their identity.
Hitting hard with opener ‘beginners’ krav maga’, deep tan explore angular arrangement on a track that is as aggressive as its own namesake; contact combat! Juxtaposed over an irresistible twangy groove, Wafah’s soft, dexterous, and often critical vocals remind us that learning self-defence will unfortunately not help most women feel safe walking alone at night (male violence is an epidemic) – “I stand outside / I bide my time / Wait for the mood to pass / Night-time checklist / Keys in a fist / In the dark can’t relax.”
Inserting itself into your brain, ‘device devotion’ follows as an ode to deep tan’s browser history; the trio share their fascination with (and critique of) internet subcultures – from lobster erotica to vore-porn subreddits – hooking you in with delicate vocal notes and erratic instrumentation. The presence of the world wide web also influences ‘gender expansion pack’, a mostly instrumental track utilising WikiHow hypnosis through subliminal messaging. Underlying spoken word is low-pitched to a subliminal frequency allowing deep tan to challenge cis-het men – “the demographic that buys most of our vinyl” – into exploring their gender.
Caught with his hands down his pants, Rudy Giuliani’s public image melts under deep tan’s sardonic black humour during the “diss track you never asked for” ‘rudy ya ya ya’ – “We’re seeking law advice / ‘Cause he’s a legal eagle supersized / A considerable adversary / Rudy ya ya ya / Giuli ya ya ya!” – before the cathartic title track disturbs with abrasive outbursts of ancient and justified rage.
Maintaining their intensity, deep tan crescendo into a cataclysm of obliterating melody and anthemic vitriol; channelling the chaos of The KLF, the defiant attitude of The Slits, and the gloomy new wave of Joy Division. And yet diamond horsetail isn’t constricted by influence. Every detail has been carefully considered in the creation of deep tan’s strangely addictive sound, further developing their identity through ceaseless DIY punk energy.
diamond horsetail is out now via Practise Music.
Photo Credit: Alex Matraxia