Deadman, Walking

Deadman finds the heart of Texas in Mexico

He's right: The most striking part of Paramour is Steven and Sherilyn's hand-holding harmonies, their sweet and low voices wrapping around each other like curls of smoke until you can't hear where one ends and the other begins, and pretty soon, it doesn't matter; it's all one beautiful, fragile sound. Their joint custody of the microphone makes Deadman, at times, sound something like a smoked-out version of X, and other times like the Velvet Underground and Nico making a run for the border. In an unexpected way, they even bring to mind the duets of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, had Gaye and Terrell ever found themselves down on their luck and drowned in tequila, and maybe a few pesos shy of another round.

Steven and Sherilyn's Vicodin-veiled vocals stand out and blend in like two Hollywood A-listers fitting into an ensemble company. Listen to them moan and groan their way through songs like "Rosa Marie" or "Three Murders"; their voices lead the way, but they don't leave the song behind them. They're just another instrument, another part to play. The songs certainly give Steven and Sherilyn's shared singing plenty of room to get lost in, making sexy and spooky sounds that bring Collins' personal screenplay to wide-screen life. "It turned out to be a bit more epic than I thought it would be," Collins admits. "I thought it would be a sort of quiet, hear-a-pin-drop kind of record."

Though it's different than he originally heard it in his head (and in his home studio, for that matter), Collins is proud of Paramour, even if he knows people don't have to listen to his record. The record store's full of them, after all. But he found what he was looking for on Paramour, and that's all he needs for now. Sometimes, all that matters is that you make yourself happy, finally answer a question you've been asking yourself.

"If I'm going to make something, I want it to be worth people's time and worth the people's money," Deadman's Steven Collins, left, says. With Paramour, he has.
"If I'm going to make something, I want it to be worth people's time and worth the people's money," Deadman's Steven Collins, left, says. With Paramour, he has.

"It's very important for me personally to make something that, 15 years later, is going to sound as good as it does now," Collins says. "The idea is to make something that's gonna last. And to make something that's gonna move someone. My theory is, there's so many people that are making records. I mean, it's easy to make a record. It's not hard: You go to somebody's house on their computer and you press 'record,' and you can make a record. My idea is, why add another one to the stack? There's so freaking many records. You go into a record store and you don't know where to go or what to buy. My theory is, I don't wanna add to that. If I'm going to make something, I want it to be worth people's time and worth the people's money. Because if you go to Tower and buy a record, that's 20 bucks. That's a lot of money."

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