I’m a voracious listener to the musical child of Jessica Dobson and Peter Mansen (and their friends), Deep Sea Diver. However, I’ve only known about them for less than a month. That should tell you something about their music.
I first saw Deep Sea Diver when they opened for Death Cab For Cutie at the huge Transatlantacism shindig that I bought tickets for months in advance. I was there to see DCFC and I had barely given the opener a passing thought. I’d never heard of Deep Sea Diver. I figured they’d be some pretty good band with nautical-themed album art.
I was wrong on both counts. One, their album art is not nautical. There’s no crazy dude in a diving suit. There’s no angler fish or quirky nautili swaying in the under-sea current. Two, they are not pretty good. They’re fantastic. Technically, they’re amazing, the timing, the rhythms, the dissonance and crunch of piano in Tracks of the Green Line and the offbeat, steady-but-subtle build in Weekend Wars. Every song on the album is distinct and can stand alone. They draw from such a wide pool of musical influences. Some songs have a definite old-school ska feel, some feel more like ragtime, but all of it has the overarching feel like it’s a soundtrack to something really, really poignant.
Musically – technically and emotionally – it feels like it’s going somewhere, and that somewhere is important.
When I think “Deep Sea Diver,” knowing what I know about the people behind the project, I think of a few things really clearly. I think of C.S. Lewis, and I’m not quite sure what makes me think of him, except for that it seems DSD’s music could be a soundtrack to one of his works. It’s a modern sound with an ancient spirit. I also hearken back to what I was talking about before, with the diving suit. It makes me think of Mark 5:20, where Jesus and the disciples travel across the sea to the territory of the gentiles and encounter a man cursed with demons coming towards them from a graveyard. Jesus casts the demons out of the man, and they flee into a herd of pigs, and the pigs go mad and rush into the sea. Throughout scripture, the sea is always a representation of darkness, of bad things. When I think “Deep Sea Diver” I think of going straight into the midst of the darkness and bringing a light.
Maybe that’s not what they were thinking, but that’s what I’m thinking.
Here’s another song by them, just because you can’t get enough.
Buy their album History Speaks at bandcamp.com. You won’t regret it.