REVIEW: She-Devils – She-Devils EP (self-released)


Tracklisting: Come / Where There’s No One / I Wanna Touch You / Come (Remix)

There was another version of the 60’s, one void of mop-tops, swinging London, peace, and love. Montreal’s She-Devils dive deep down into the rabbit hole to a time gripped in a swirl of post-reds-under-the-bed paranoia, indefinable fear of nuclear destruction, and bad trips. This is the soundtrack to a Manson family house-warming where the psychedelic boat scene from Willy Wonka plays on hellish loop, the monstrous face of “Slugworth” penetrating your cerebral cortex for eternity. The sound of a well-worn past deconstructed within an inch of its life for 21st Century relevance. A world where love no longer comes for free, laughter results in Botox and happiness can only be reached at the bottom of a bottle.

“Let me whisper the word in your ear, while you’re sleeping so you can hear better”

Sampling surf guitar over a rat-tat-tat shuffle title track “Come” is a creeping slice of art-pop where disconcerting femininity masks a sinister stalker’s intent, as if Annie Wilkes were reincarnated as Lolita-ish temptress. Singer Audrey Ann evokes the eerie beauty of Hope Sandoval as she dares; “You will see that I know what I’m doing, Don’t try to resist me”, and the illicit dangers are all too apparent. But, just as Adam and Eve sacrificed souls for succulent sweetness, so the listener is drawn into this Black Widow’s web aware of the implications yet unable to repel its delicious temptations.

Second track “Where There’s No One” is even scarier, as churning organ punctuates woozy-pop creating a yearning ode to the horrors of loneliness, and the bleak selfishness of inevitable suicide. As Audrey Ann pines for compassion, “I just need you to say, please no don’t go away”, a ghostly whoosh whirls around the mind formulating a scene so utterly desperate you can almost taste the dank perspiration on her quivering lips. She-Devils take you on a fairground ride on the precipice of hell where logical reassurance of “it’s only a dream, it’s only a dream” soon dissipate in ghastly realization that annihilation is inevitable and you’ll never, ever dismount.

The short (and almost) sweet third track “I Wanna Touch You” is a welcome slice of breezy breathy pop delicately blowing away the cobwebbed horrors manifested formerly. Skulking dread and morbid fantasy replaced by coy desire as Audrey Ann pleads “make me love again” craving the tenderness previously unreachable, her pleading ache sprinkled with dreamy samples by her She-Devils cohort Kyle Jukka. When she enquires “can you read my mind?”, the foreboding dread elicited by her former incarnations no longer rears its ugly head replaced by a longing for loving arms shielding from cold terrors.

The EP finally rounds itself off with a forgettable remix of “Come” which goes heavy on the disorientation, but lacks the sexualized threat, an impotent close to an otherwise monstrously virile debut. Mercifully what has come before shows She-Devils to be a unique proposition; a band who delight in warping the familiar into something both daunting and exhilarating. Whilst the 60s touchstones are there for all to hear the resultant maelstrom feels fresh and invigorating, stepping down well-worn paths yet dispatching disconnected boredom for terrible wonder.

Rating 4 out of 5




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