Chicago indie sensations Dehd go big-time with Blue Skies

Chicago trio Dehd sound like they’re trying to levitate by fusing the ineffable but often incompatible powers of frigid postpunk and wispy indie rock. Dehd are dedicated minimalists: their lonesome, echoing guitars and sturdy, straightforward rhythms tend to show the seams in their songs, but they don’t reveal too much of the magic that makes them work. Dehd get some of their charm from the worn-in, skeletal feel of their music, which leaves little to distract you from the vocal interplay between bassist Emily Kempf and guitarist Jason Balla—both of whom seem to write killer pop hooks as offhandedly as they might doodle in a notebook. On Dehd’s new fourth album, Blue Skies (Fat Possum), the band play around with their sound ever so slightly: on the spiky, upbeat “Bop” and swaying ballad “Memories,” drummer Eric McGrady augments his blunt beats with sharp snatches of electronic percussion. For the most part, though, Dehd stick with what’s served them well since they formed six years ago, putting that bare-bones formula to work making bittersweet songs that can wallop like Top 40 radio hits with six producers. On the single “Bad Love,” Kempf leans into the majestic yearning of McGrady’s galloping drums and Balla’s dreamy, looping guitar with a focused, triumphant performance that showcases her vocal range—if there’s one moment that crystallizes the band’s flair for dramatically bridging joy and sorrow, it’s Kempf’s wordless, strained howl at the song’s end.

Dehd, Pixel Grip, 81355 (Bless), Sat 6/4, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $24, $21 in advance, 18+

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