Birds and Cages, by Deas Vail

January 16, 2011

Deas Vail's youthful pop-rock is in the vein of Christian hit-radio bands. But the vocals soar to giddy heights on "Growing Pains," which makes compelling use of distorted guitar, riffing piano and swishing cymbals. "Sunlight" catapults from a sidestick backbeat into hopscotch rhythms gilded by tasteful strings before evaporating into a mist of electric piano and tremolo guitar and then building up again for the climax. It's modern rock, but with unexpected and pleasing flourishes of art-school savvy.