Exposure: The Deals
- Paul MacDonald
- 25 February 2009
The Deals have had more incarnations than Prince. Instead of symbols, masks and image corrections, their current members have drifted between bands for years, until early in 2008, when the time became right to morph into the current cow-bell rattling, drum battering, funky four-piece that is their current guise.
Frontman Mark Coffield hails originally from Carnoustie, but moved down to Lanarkshire last year in order to be within earshot of the buzzing scene and vibrant, eclectic genres that Glasgow has to offer and united with Martin McClinden, a modest plucker [sic!], who remains in denial of his irrefutable knack to play the guitar at an incredibly competent level. Coffield simply has a presence, an alluring, fixating gaze that when accompanied by his razor sharp chanting makes him the ideal vessel for spouting their rhythmic melodies.
The other members of the group are based in Motherwell. Drummer Stephen Sweeney has conquered competitions for the way he has battered snares and tom toms into a pulp, while chipping in with a vocal to boot. The John Paul Jones award for underrated bassist comes in the form of Michael Valente, who ensures the full process strides along relentlessly without the slightest nuance of disruption.
Years on the circuit have made them realistic and passive about the pitfalls and pipe-dreams of eventually becoming household names, but the limelight and potential riches were never their initial intention. Music is not a chore, rather an obsession; their individual instruments and personas infuse their songs so evidently that you are fully aware that every detail has been meticulously examined in order to assess its worthiness. They are musical technicians in every sense
What of the music? Talking Heads and pre-sell out Kings Of Leon are major influences, with the formers’ iconic track ‘Psycho Killer’ becoming a live favourite as their following has developed. But their collective interests encapsulate every trend ever established, making them well worn in all aspects of production and execution.
It is apparent in their tracks. ‘Ghost’ just begs to be heard. Fashioned in their sound, and their sound only, they are difficult to pigeonhole but inescapably unerring in their musical vision.
‘Sultans of Safety’ is their finest achievement to date, a rollicking, unstoppable rocket of riffs, drums and vocals that co-exist with extreme finesse and aptitude, and to attempt description of their onstage presence is pointless - go see for yourself.
In a period of transition for Scotland’s breaking bands, the Deals’ diversity could be their greatest asset. One monumental gig would be all it would take to instil them as regulars across the country. And who knows – Geoff Ellis may be in touch in July, there’s talk of something happening up Kinross way.
The Deals play Edinburgh Playhouse as part of the Next big thing competition on Saturday 14th March.