Photo: Corinne Cumming (capturedbycorinne)
The London-born son of Indo-Mauritian immigrants, Dewan-Dean Soomary was twenty-two years old when he rose to success as a member of genre-warping leftist punk band the King Blues. His career with that band took him from sold-out UK tours and appearances at Reading, Leeds, and Glastonbury to international tours in Europe and Japan. He later won acclaim as a songwriter with Notting Hill Music, and as the frontman of indie-pop group Bleach Blood. However, the work of supporting other people's musical visions and a sense that, by his own admission, he was too apprehensive to stand up to stereotypes in the music industry left him feeling voiceless and discontented. As an outspoken social justice advocate who keenly felt the role of race in his life, and as an unlikely (which is to say "non-white") but authentic guitar and synthesizer nerd, he struggled to find a space in which his passion for electronic music and his often-scathing lyrics could co-exist comfortably with the colour of his skin.
Now he returns with Teenage Sequence, a new project that bulldozes the walls of stereotypical expectations to let in everybody who'd like to dance. Teenage Sequence's infectious (but never innocent) beats blend the snappy pop sensibility of indie disco with the bleak humour and biting social commentary of post-punk, creating a sound that's all-at-once irresistibly nostalgic and nervously forwards-looking. The analog sounds of vintage synths and guitars, played and recorded by Dewan at his home in East London, blend with live drums by James Gulliver, backing vocals by Kristin Ferebee (Beirut; Bishop Allen), and the work of co-producer Kevin Vanbergen (Nova Twins, Gramme, The Slits) at Savage Sound to create songs that are simultaneously about the lineage of music as a joyful shout by silenced voices and the loving technology that has allowed their voices to be heard.
On this self-titled debut album, you'll find acid-tongued and relatable stories about the humiliations and alienations of modern life: the casual racism of the music industry or your crush, the endless series of hangovers that keep you stuck as an eternal kid, the despair of living in a world on the verge of destruction, the yearning when you fall in love despite all of this. Lush synthesizers, fuzzy guitars, and relentless 909 beats build a soundscape that is as sleek, pulsing, merciless, and ultimately as irresistible as London itself— demanding that the listener dance, even as it reminds them that the dance-floor is burning.
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