Demonstration by Drab MajestyRelease date: January 20, 2017
Label: Dais Records
Drab Majesty is LA-based artist Deb Demure, an alter ego of Andrew Clinco of Marriages. Starting off in 2012 with a cassette release called Unarian Dances, Deb progressed to 2015’s excellent post punk release Careless. Demure dabbles in the sort of icy, elegant post punk offered up in the 80s from bands such as The Cure. There are drum machines and synths, as expected, but then we have Demure’s notable guitar playing and strong sense of melody, which elevates his work to something rather special. As mentioned in Demure’s press release:
“Wielding a left-handed guitar, Deb employs a unique style of arpeggiated finger picking, producing vast and organic musical textures reminiscent of Vinny Reilly (Durutti Column) with the anthemic power of Sisters of Mercy and Cocteau Twins.”
This year, due to growing audiences and increased interest in his work, he brought keyboardist Mona D on board to help fill out the band’s sound. Which it does — in spades.
Opening with the short instrumental ‘Induction’, ripe with uneasy synth, it shoots straight into the driving beats of the lovely ‘Dot in the Sky’. Demure operates in a comfortable space here, it’s clear he knows his influences and sprinkles them wisely throughout his material without letting it be overshadowed. The music here sparkles like a sun-kissed gem, and it envelops me with a sense of peace. ’39 By Design’ deals with the 39 members of Heaven’s Gate, a UFO religious cult who all committed suicide with the belief that they would be taken on board a UFO if they died. Demure asks the question as to whether they ascended after all. It makes for an interesting question and a cool video for this mysterious and beautiful song.
‘Not Just a Name’ is a nice mesh of shoegaze and dream pop with drawn out textures, and is swooningly great. Not sure what I like better, the lovingly stroked guitar or Demure’s deep vocals. And I like the way it changes tack around the four minute mark. ‘Hath No Form’ is a trippy instrumental, with far distant voices in the deep well of sound. ‘Too Soon To Tell’ is begging to be a single, with a strong main melody and an icy spray of synths and delicate guitar.
‘Cold Souls’ is the first single on this record, and it’s the obvious choice for this honor. With indelible hooks and a gorgeously rendered sonic backdrop, this song hits all the sonic sweet spots. I really enjoy the slower interludes between the chorus breaks.
‘A Spire Points At the Heavens’ is a spooky instrumental, and I swear I hear church bells processed in some way, adding to its eeriness. ‘Kissing the Ground’ is supremely catchy, and I am reminded of The Sisters of Mercy in its gloomy yet strangely uplifting grooves. ‘Forget Tomorrow’ is pretty dark wave, and ‘Behind The Wall’ inhabits that post punk black hole that sucks you straight in, shooting you full of musical rays and leaving you wanting more. It is the capstone of this supremely confident and lovely album from a very gifted LA duo.