Before changing their name from Deep Time due to legal conflict, Austin, Texas' minimal pop duo Yellow Fever lingered in a nebulous area of obscurity. They toured constantly and captured the attention of a good many folks, but in the tumultuous indie landscape of 2006-2010, acts like the Vivian Girls and Best Coast rose to mass appeal with their punked-out updates on the girl group sound while Yellow Fever were sidelined. Founding member Jennifer Moore was splitting her time with Austin's doo wop/girl group revivalist supergroup the Carrots, so strains of that influence in Yellow Fever were undeniable, but they approached their songs from such a remarkable distance that the subtle melodic crosscurrents could be lost on some listeners, leaving the band coming off as cold or deadpan. On its self-titled debut as Deep Time, the band is a few years older and even deeper into its clinically crafted indie minimalism. All girl group reference points, subtle as they were, are completely vanquished from the band's sound, replaced with slinky melodies and metered, calculated playing from both Moore and her multi-instrumentalist partner Adam Jones. The result is a minimal sound not created through instrumental sparsity but through the haunting sense of detachment that carries the songs. The organ-driven "Coleman" melds the graveyard chic of early-'90s goth punks Slant 6 with shouty post-punk in the vein of LiLiPUT or Girls at Our Best! "Clouds" is perhaps the album's brightest moment, its removed vocal hooks dancing with spooky single-note guitar riffs over a spy movie rhythm track. Deep Time follow a long lineage of coolly explosive post-punk bands, from their Delta 5-informed rhythms on "Gold Rush" to the Lora Logic-meets-Yoko Ono-on-downers vocal twists on "Homebody" to the slightly coastal overall feel of the entire album, bringing to mind the Marine Girls' beachy laments or the foggy morning pop ruminations of the Aislers Set. More than a composite of all of these combined influences, Deep Time maintain their mysterious and unique identity by never playing all of their cards at once. The album is densely dynamic, but never relies on loud-then-soft clichés or screaming histrionics to make any of its points. Instead, Moore and Jones sound eternally cool-headed and deceptively even-keeled as they play their songs that are anything but breezy or carefree. The core of anxiety and unrest that lies in the heart of the album is presented so offhandedly, listeners will be happily repeating songs several times before it even starts to register.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas