Joe Maddock, aka
Waves for the Deaf, has some instruments, a four-track recorder and (most importantly) some pretty well developed songwriting chops. The 11 pop-song blueprints he delivers on Eleven Songs In Stereo
are pretty darn listenable. Plying his trade with layered acoustic guitars, thin bass and rudimentary percussion, Maddock creates tunes reminiscent at varying times of Modest Mouse ("The Horrible Song"), the Pixies ("Control") and Jawbox ("911").
The hookiest composition is "The Horrible Song", which in a minor stroke of genius lays a six-beat vocal line over a 4/4 chorus. The record's most pronounced bass-playing drives the verse, in which staccato bursts circularly link a strong melody. "Contemplating A House Fire" takes a decidedly more meditative approach, letting percussion spice a noodly, thinly-guitared verse before locking into a standard four-on-the-floor chorus. Dynamic syncopated breaks like the one that closes the album in "Conceited Opinion" show that Waves for the Deaf is no singer-songwriter affair, but an honest-to-God rock record made by one man. While Eleven Songs In Stereo's recording (and occasionally execution) lacks some sophistication, even after one listen it is evident that, if Maddock had a full band and some studio-quality gear at his disposal, he could accomplish notable things musically. For now, he sounds pretty content to be a pioneer in his bedroom's melodic indie rock scene.