"Can you tell me that the page will turn itself and take us somewhere else?" Wes Blaylock sings on the latest Deas Vail album Birds & Cages.
The longing sentiment of this simple but open-ended line is at the heart of a dozen songs that take on Everest-sized questions about freedom, love, hope, fear, transformation and just what it means to become a better human being.
If that seems like a tall order for a modern rock album, Deas Vail make their soul-searching inquiries sound exhilarating, with swooning choruses, sparkly panoramic arrangements and lyrics that flirt with darkness but ultimately tilt towards optimism.
"The record definitely has a lot of question marks in it," Blaylock says with a chuckle. "I'm a firm believer in asking big questions. I feel like sometimes people go through life and they're timid or afraid to ask questions because they don't want to be judged. I'm trying to write as honestly and personally as I can, and it's kind of scary for me."