Descender

For a good part of the '90s and into the early '00s, Doosu was all over the Deep Ellum local music scene. Those who spent their nights frollicking about that thriving neighborhood could likely find themselves at a Doosu show at any number of venues almost every week.

After some moderate national attention, Doosu broke up in 2003—but frontman Casey Hess never left the local scene. He spent a couple of years with Toadies frontman Vaden Todd Lewis' well-received side project, The Burden Brothers, before working on songs that would eventually end up on Army of Elephants, the debut release from his new band, Descender.

The album sounds familiar without being just another post-grunge retread—credit, maybe, the slick production from David Castell, who has produced locals from Blue October to Shock of Pleasure. Or maybe it's just the sound of confidence coming from a group of guys who have all been there before.

Hess' vocals cut through guitar-heavy tracks like the title track just fine. But it's the loud/soft dynamic found in the standout track "What Was Missing" and in the album closer, "Against the Rocks," that are the most interesting. "Rocks" begins as a change of pace and starts off quiet, only to build up to a cathartic, powerful end.

For the most part, Elephants is a natural evolution for Hess. It's not going to change anything. But maybe Descender is what's been missing in Deep Ellum's recent years.>

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Mark Schectman

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