If There’s No Heaven…

Los Angeles’ DECEITS opens their debut LP If There No Heaven with “Failures”, a track that effectively acts as a mission statement for the trio; its agile bassline, chiming guitar and stricken vocals place the band in the darker end of the current pool of melodic post-punk acts. The songs that follow stick fairly close to the same template and tempo, shaded by varying degrees of melancholy and tension in their performance.

A lot of what makes DECEITS interesting is probably in how animated they feel across the entirety of the LP. The speediness of numbers like “To Just Fade Away” and “Every Promise” is essential to their success: where the former’s slightly sunnier tone is accented, the former’s regretful mood is given an injection of pep that matches its Robert Smith-esque vocal yelps. The punk influence is certainly part of that energy; you can hear traces of classic emo delivery in singer Kevin Moreno’s vocals, especially at moments like “Serenity (Blows the Wind)” where a slight upper register whine sits on top of the song’s simple arpeggios just so.

The knock against the record is that it lacks some essential variety. As much as its tight song structures and spritely tempo suit it, individual tracks blend into one another on successive listens. Its partly that the mix and arrangements don’t highlight what makes the individual songs unique: “Mi Amor, Mi Vampira” has its charms – a sharp guitar hook and a memorable chorus – but neither are pushed enough to make the impact they otherwise could. Similarly, there’s a bit of tempestuousness lurking behind the closing title track, but when the song comes back from its climactic breakdown it doesn’t achieve its potential cathartic release simply because it never shifts into another gear.

At 29 or so fast-paced minutes, the LP certainly doesn’t drag or overstay its welcome. DECEITS have done a good job of establishing themselves, and what their identity is in a field they share with a lot of comparable acts. Application of their unique qualities and ideas will be key in how the develop going forward, with If There’s No Heaven… having provided a starting point for further exploration.

Buy it.