I love when a sophomore record bests a debut. Deserta released Black Aura My Sun a couple years ago, and I really liked it. The project is really finding its feet, releasing the new album Every Moment, Everything You Need on February 25th. I’ve been listening to it almost every day.
Deserta is Matthew Doty of Los Angeles, and of the post-rock band Saxon Shore. He writes and performs all the music on this album, save for drums performed by James McAlister. There are also guest vocals on one track by Caroline Lufkin, and a guest spot on synth from Oliver Chapoy.
With Black Aura My Sun, Deserta brought us a strong shoegaze record that was rather blended together track by track. Every Moment is something both similar and different. While this is still a hazy shoegaze record, there are two major differences. First, real drums are in play this time. The debut featured programmed drums and beats, but the addition of James on drums has a huge effect on the power of the sound. Second, I feel like this record has better songs, plain and simple. Instead of a soupy mix of tracks that fade into each other, at least to my ears, Every Moment features tightly written, highly catchy songs that I am finding to be memorable.
Another thing that stands out here is Matthew’s guitar work. I love shoegaze guitars, and the debut had plenty of it, but this album leans more into the guitar overall. I think this is because Matthew has written some fantastic guitar licks and rhythms that ask, no demand, to be played at full strength with no frills. On basically every track here, the guitar work is phenomenal, both in composition and in execution. The production, too, accentuates the searing power of the guitars, especially as they roll in like a storm of color onto a slow burning track.
A good example of this can be found in the singles. “I’m So Tired” is a peppy little song with a great beat and addictive vocal lines, but when Matthew’s guitar sweeps in, the entire song jumps a few notches for me. “Goodbye Vista”, one of my favorites, has this, too, though it is a hazier track, and the guitars don’t sweep in so much as they cut through the hazy butter like a hot knife. Both of those songs have excellent choruses, too, which I find myself singing constantly. I should also mention the last single, “Where Did You Go”, which features lead vocals and lyrics from Caroline. Her voice is like a whisper on the wind, and the whole track feels similarly abstract and beautiful.
The album just doesn’t seem to miss, though. Another favorite, “Far From Over” has the haze and the guitars, too, but the second half sees an addictive electronic loop that absolutely floors me with its timing. Opener “Lost in the Weight” and mid-album track “It’s All A Memory” are both majestically presented, especially the towering tones on the latter. “A World Without” is another favorite with its expressive guitar lines and perfect pace. I love how it flirts with lofty guitar work and also with ambient textures. The album closer, “Visions” is maybe the most abstract on the record. It reaches a foggy and melodic zenith near the end, but the pulsating and dim light throughout its runtime is what really attracts me.
In the end, this record really speaks to me. I love the little tweaks to the sound, and they have yielded major results. It’s funny how a little change can do that. Deserta is becoming one of my favorites in this shoegaze genre, and the songs here speak for themselves as to why that is.
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