It's followed by fellow 2020 single Spitting Gas which starts with an onslaught of drums and a primeval roar from Jack who then pours out the lyric like a stream of conscience in between delivering huge waves of guitars and pedal effects, Short, sharp and bitter-sweet. it doesn't outstay its welcome given its brevity, but it'll leave you punch-drunk and bruised such is the ferocity with which the song packs everything into such a short timescale.
Banshee merges synth sounds with guitar sounds that punch their way out from beneath the surface before taking over control. Like much of what's gone before, it feels completely intuitive and natural, even though it's not necessarily what you've come to expect from Déjà Vega from a sonic perspective. The intensity though is everything you would. Balancing Act delves deeper, one minute sounding like a rough but essential demo, the drums dictating everything, the next fuzzed-up guitars taking over. It feels incomplete in one sense, but perfect in others, its unpolished nature essential to its impact.
All Words is one of Personal Hell's more adventurous moment, starting with just drums and vocals, sparse and affecting even when the guitars come in over Jack repeating the title. The onslaught that comes in many of their songs threatens to come but never does and its that tension that holds the listener in their grip. Déjà Vega's refusal to follow traditional songwriting structures is a feature of this album and is in evidence again on this track, one of our personal highlights. The album finishes on Outside Now, a song like its predecessor's final track The Test, that holds so much potential to be taken and stretched out live, the three of them coming together to set a pulsating driving beat overladen with piercing guitar riffs that can lift you, and the people around you, off your feet and into their world in a way that can only ever be achieved in a hot, sweaty room where you can see the whites of their eyes. Discounting that, it's still a mighty fine finish to the record.
Personal Hell is both a triumph and a development in Déjà Vega's sound. The high-energy adrenaline rushes of their self-titled debut and live sets is still very much evidence here, but as this album progresses you see the band stretching the boundaries of their sound, assisted by a crisp production that allows all the elements that the three of them bring to the band to be heard. More expansive and diverse than their debut without losing the core of what makes Déjà Vega so exciting, Personal Hell is the sound of a band completely in tune with each other, making music for the love of it and that passion positively pours out of the eleven songs on this album.
They play London The Lexington (February 2), Birmingham Dead Wax (3), Leeds Brudenell Social Club (4), Manchester Gorilla (5), Liverpool Jacaranda (19), Cardiff Globe (24), Bristol Thekla (25) and Nottingham Bodega (26)