This Chicago indie-rock trio are one of those bands who are doubly satisfying to listen to – where each song is catchy and evocative on its own, but taken together feel casually masterly. Dehd seem to just reach up and pluck songs off a tree, rather than coaxing them out of the ground.
Having broken to a wider audience with 2020’s excellent Flower of Devotion, Blue Skies will consolidate and grow that success. There’s little that’s innovative in their sound – unpasteurised garage rock in the vein of Girls or the Drums, with a touch of twangy surf guitar and the same hazy take on 60s girl groups that late-80s dream-poppers and shoegazers also once tried. But familiar modes like these allow the melody writing to shine. Some of the top lines are nagging in their immediacy – the joyous “do-do-do’s” on the 90-second Bop positively tickle you in the armpits – but others are cleverly minimal, like the announcements on the chorus to Empty in My Mind.
As the band’s two lead vocalists, Jason Balla plays it straight while Emily Kempf inimitably hollers. “This is it / The biggest yet / I better get it / I better let it,” she sings on Clear, as if under a wide open sky. The lines are most likely about giddily giving yourself up to romantic infatuation, but could also be about a band succumbing to ambition, and writing their biggest songs yet.