Y’all probably know how obsessed I am with Post Saga. I gave their debut EP a rave review. I booked them for my big 27th birthday bash at the Grog Shop. I keep the holographic Dragonite card that ex-keyboardist/guitarist Steven Carey gave me tacked to the front of my fridge.
So imagine how psyched I was when I found out one of their members has a side project!!
And then how enthralled I was to discover it was an emo side project! It was better than Christmas.
Deep Sigh is composed of bassist Levan Mdzinarishvili (also of Post Saga), guitarists Bill Geisinger and Shawn Dale, and drummer Justin Buescher. All but Buescher take turns supplying vocals.
I have listened a lot to their August 2017 debut EP, Jazz Apple. On May 8, 2020, they finally released their followup, the Withdrawn EP.
The discography of Deep Sigh has a very clear thread running through it, that being: American Football, American Football, American Football. I walked in on an interview they were giving in the lobby of the Beachland Ballroom after a show, and when asked about their influences, they literally replied, “American Football, American Football, American Football.”
Deep Sigh’s hero worship runs so deep, it’s hard to draw other parallels. But my question is, do we really need any? Is there anything wrong with having more bands that sound like American Football? I don’t think so, especially now that LP3 exists to give new sonic inspiration. If even American Football is in the game of trying to make more music like American Football, what’s wrong with other folks getting in on it?
Especially when it’s done this well. Deep Sigh continues to create seas of swimming reverb, with lyrical themes of uncertainty and struggle. Compared to Jazz Apple almost three years ago, Withdrawn shows development and completeness. Both are five songs in length, but Withdrawn clocks at 20 minutes, whereas Jazz Apple amounted to just 13 minutes in length. So Deep Sigh has nearly tripled the length of their discography with this release.
The catchiest songs on the record are “Woke Up” and “3:11, Make A Wish”. Both are upbeat rock songs in major keys, and employ repeating, thematic hooks for their choruses.
The rest of the EP leans into a greater subtlety, drowning in reverb. The two guitarists both know their 7th chords, allowing them to craft interesting textures that fill a venue quite peacefully; hard to converse at the bar when this many frequencies are filled out by the band. You won’t lose yourself to dance on these tracks, but you’ll find yourself comfortably swaying, and I find I honestly prefer that most of the time.
This sort of production is Steve Perrino’s bread and butter. While I’ve found myself critical of some of his work on tracks of more sparse arrangement (See: Lea Marra, “Fixer”), when it comes to rock albums and walls-of-sound, Perrino has pretty firmly established himself among the superior options for sound engineers in Cleveland. And after listening to his bands, Being Still and The Grievance Club, I totally get why; this is nearer to the genre he plays, and where he finds his passion. He’s a completely natural, organic pick for Deep Sigh. I don’t think he’s the guy to make my Elliot-Smith-type record, but when I make my album where I try to copy Dismemberment Plan and Taking Back Sunday and Say Anything, you betcha I’m gonna hunt down his number. His work with Heart Attack Man pretty much cements him forever.
One of my secret goals with Postman Press is to further the Cleveland emo scene. With that in mind, Deep Sigh has been one of the bands I’ve had high hopes for since first I heard them. Withdrawn shows strong growth and a developing style.
While American Football fetishism is just fine, especially for a bunch of guys in other bands using this as a fun outlet for a style they love, my hope for the future is that they explore and evolve. Moments of this EP point toward a more fast-paced future for them; maybe I’ll buy them a copy of Commit This To Memory for Christmas. In the meantime, they’re heading in a good direction, making their target audience clear, and putting on great shows. Impressive, especially for a band with just two EPs under their belt. To close with a rhyme: keep an eye on Deep Sigh.