“There is a deeper call / And feeling at the top / I don’t wanna rot / After all.” Bryan Dubay, an indie artist who shares similarities with bands like the Bombay Bicycle Club, tackles death and decay, as well as rebirth, on his appropriately titled Detritus EP. “Detritus,” which is another word for waste or debris, also has a more biological meaning: it is the decaying matter that microorganisms attach to and “remineralize.” And his sonic deep dive has a spiritual (and instrumental) complexity to it that gives the record a satisfying depth and replay ability.
The EP opens with the title track: “Millenia under the sea / Centuries til we got here.” He says that the track is about how death is just part of the cycle, “something not to be bogged down in.” And in the song he deals with the ongoing cycle of death and rebirth in compelling poetry. “Broken branches / feeding the fauna / sprouting like mothers / grow fingers upon a / fetal baby’s hand / like how she holds them up / until they can stand / on their own two feet.” The care he takes with constructing feeling and adventurous music on this EP is matched by a care for thoughtful poetic composition.
The next song, “Lost,” which has a driving, modern, dancey vibe to it, deals with the way death and disease steals our loved ones’ attention from us, like when dementia causes people to speak to someone who is dead, instead of calling us by our names. “You only run to the arms of the dead / Won’t you hold me instead?” It’s a sad song, that Dubay says deals in humor to shield us from the real fear. That is the herculean task of this record, however: facing our fears of death. And Dubay does it with a beauty and a grace, and his own hard won conclusions on the matter.
Like that we will “Rebloom,” though it may be, “Never again [as] a man.” For those looking for music with lyrical and musical complexity, something that is also a feature of Bombay Bicycle Club before him, this short offering may be a real treat. It is a bit of a different direction from his previous and debut record, Grand Eternal Season, an album which I loved, which dealt in much more confessional, interpersonal storytelling.
I love the new direction that he’s gone in, however. Where his previous album had firm roots in the indie rock world, mimicking artists like Elliot Smith, this album finds him branching out (nature pun intended) into a unique “post-indie” sort of sound. The EP has a cohesion to it and a theme certainly relatable to us all. I love a record that you can DIG into (nature pun intended, again). Dig in, yourself, and find out if this isn’t one of your new favorite, up and coming bands.