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Cigarettes burn in the moonlight. Necklaces bang against bare chests. And on their triumphant fifth album Poetry, Dehd transports us to a world steeped in imagery. It’s a world painted in the sunset tones of summer romance and flickering old flames. It’s motorcycle chrome (“Mood Ring”), it’s fake Gucci Sunglasses (“Dog Days”), and it’s shaking hands before a swaying lover (“Hard to Love”). Across fourteen songs, the trio–Jason Balla, Emily Kempf, and Eric McGrady–throw themselves against the question of what it means to hope, knowing all too well that things end and hearts can break. “You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life,” wrote Charles Bukowski and upon listening to this album it’s obvious the band has chosen to attempt the latter.

After hitting a stride with their 2020 breakout record Flower of Devotion, followed by their radiant Fat Possum debut Blue Skies in 2022, Dehd did something different. They turned a writing session into a road trip. With a van full of recording equipment they headed to Kempf’s off-grid Earthship in New Mexico where they chopped wood to keep warm and worked for as long as the solar panels held a charge. They then traveled north to a borrowed cabin surrounded by the chilly waters of the Puget Sound, where the hours were marked only by the movement of the tide. On the way back to Chicago for their final writing session at the warehouse they’ve called home for over a decade, Balla and McGrady became stranded for days in rural Montana after hitting a deer and abandoning their van. This tireless sense of adventure, both internal and external, has become a trademark of Dehd over the years. “Eating, sleeping, breathing—our only purpose was to write,” Kempf recalled. And it seems in this place of quiet focus Dehd have achieved their most honest and vulnerable writing yet.