After a fifteen-year hiatus, The Deathray Davies return with Time Well Wasted. Singer John Dufilho says that after quickly writing 13 songs, this felt like a perfect time to reunite with his cohorts Jason Garner, Mike Middleton, Andy Lester, Chris Mayes, and Kevin Ingle, and it’s hard to argue that now isn’t the perfect time to return to this throwback style series of jams. Starting with the heavily ’60s inspired “Tapping on the X-Ray” Dufilho finds himself in a precarious scenario having to find a way to bounce back.
Sometimes the album feels very meta-inspired with many lyrics potentially serving as a commentary on the bands’ reunion (“all I could bring back to you was me”). Comming it at an even paced 13 tracks, Dufilho seems to relish in providing a playful energy like with the welcome string additions and jaunty rhyme scheme. Dufilho isn’t afraid to get a little darker however singing about past relationships and even wanting some that might not exist as in the case with the aforementioned “I’m In Love With Alexa” which I seriously thought might have been a love letter to the home robot brand, but only because sometimes the songs on here are so fun and goofy like Dufilho singing about waiting in a hotel for a friend. That’s it, that’s the whole song and it totally works.
In spots, the album sometimes can feel repetitive given the subject matter. but it definitely never overstays its welcome. For a band that tries to homage the style of the 60s it sometimes sounds like it came out of the late 90s and the rise of a sad-boy era indie rock that had its way paved thanks to bands like Nirvana. Actually, sometimes it feels like it’s hopping around the 60s, and 90s and even a pit stop to the 70s in the middle with the song “Then You Met Me” with its groovy auditory messing. Dufilho’s voice is great and his lyricism is always on point and at points, his kind of hazy, sleepy voice matches the vibes of feeling tired in a world that’s moving a little too fast.
One of my favorite tracks that are a perfect showcase of the old meets new sounds is the “Picture Book” by the Kinks sounding “Medicine Head” which might be an indictment on the numbing abilities of anti-depressants with lines like “I know not everything is what it seems” and even hyper-specific mentions of what time it is (FYI it’s “8:39”). I can certainly see this vibing with the older indie loving crowd who might be a little over the synth-heavy sounds of your Gus Dappertons and whatever half baked recorded-in-my-bedroom sound that seems to get more popular thanks to exposure on things like TikTok, but if you’re starving for something a little more mature and refined, I’d say this is the right fit for you. Dufilho and the boys should be really proud of coming out of hibernation and hitting a real home run of a record,