Dehd – ‘Flower of Devotion’

By Eloise Bulmer

On their second full-length, Dehd are shrugging off their debut’s position on love: painful but necessary. This time around, after spending much of the last year alone, vocalist Emily Kempf is acknowledging how necessary and empowering solitude and loneliness can be. With this broadening of subject matter comes a refinement of their sonics – the band still sound laid-back, but with a synergy and a sheen to their music that wasn’t there before.

‘Flower of Devotion’ is a summer record, one that bumbles along akin to the way a low-running stream bleached by the midday sun might do. Meandering and relaxed, borrowing moods from slacker-pop and at times a feeling more rooted in country, think sitting out on a porch with a cool glass of USA-style lemonade. ‘Drip Drop’ especially ties all these vignettes of a summer well-spent together, opening with a sleepy guitar motif and nonchalant vocals.

The record commits to an airy sound even when the lyrics are bringing heavier subjects into focus. On ‘Flood’ Kempf likens falling in love to water, both the feeling and the element similar in how fickle and fractious they can be, whilst ‘Letter’ confronts feelings of unresolved grief at the end of a relationship.

There’s a gloominess to be found here – the album is shot through with a sense of melancholy that comes with trying to stand on your own when you’ve become used to the comfort of partnership. It’s a tonic to the rich, sun-soaked soundscape that defines the record. On ‘Loner’ Kempf asserts: “I want nothing more than to be a loner,” her hiccuping vocals entangled with languorous rhythms and guitar riffs, courtesy of guitarist Jason Balla and drummer Eric McGrady – and you believe her.

‘Flower of Devotion’ is an album that exults the joys of your own company without diminishing just how important friendship and closeness can be, too. Audibly comfortable with their sound whilst broadening their lyrical scope, Dehd’s confidence shines as they expand their sonic palette and push it to new places on this record, coming into their own and having fun whilst doing so.

ELOISE BULMER

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