Deepak Mantena is releasing his first LP, Wild Quiet, and yet he expects us to believe that he is the entirety of the band Junk Culture. Considering how much talent is showcased on this album between the lyrics, vocals, and instrumentals I’m waiting for Mr. Mantena to let us all in on an elaborate inside joke.
On their two previous EPs, Junk Culture did not resemble what it is today. Those albums are heavily sampled and coincide with a period when Junk Culture was touring with fellow label-mate, Girl Talk.
“Some of my older stuff could be a little cold so I wanted to change that up and introduce some warmer, rawer elements to the sound.” Source
This album delivers on that promise. The overall theme of this album is the connection between the beginning of one’s life versus the end. You don’t need to be Joseph Campbell to see that tracks entitled “Dwell”, “Ceremony”, “Growing Pains”, and “Young Love” dive into these eternal life cycles.
Wild Quiet reminds us that as children we can’t fully comprehend our own mortality. Combine that inability with the fact that we have our entire future unwritten and we feel invincible. The song “Ceremony” places us in the perspective of someone who has just lost someone to their mortal inevitability.
“I see you lying there, your body’s not moving at all.
Shake shake shake shake shake your arms – I want you to wake up.
Shoes off to enter your room, tubes are swirling around your neck.
Remember the way that you were, I want you to be you.”
When we first feel pain and rejection from life we create powerful memories that we look back on as we age. Mantena channels that pain into songs that seem like he walked out of an 8th grade classroom yesterday. That is not to say his lyrics are juvenile or insignificant, but rather so fresh and unsullied by the bitterness of age that they resonate with the listener almost immediately.
The song “Oregon” is about that moment in our lives when we start to make our own decisions, no longer led by our parents or educational environment. However, Mantena playfully adds a caveat to this freedom, reminding us that we always have some attachment or preconceived tenet pulling at us.
“She said that I think it’s time to move to Oregon.
I know, I know, I know, I know I’m not free.”
Retracing our steps to figure out just how we got here is part of the human journey. After listening to the entire album, I’m glad my journey intersected with Deepak Mantena.