Drab Majesty – The Demonstration (2017)
Welcome to the first great album of 2017.
There was never any doubt I’d be reviewing Deb DeMure’s follow-up to the debut Drab Majesty album Careless released back in 2015. For me, that debut record still has a lot of mileage left in it, thus I feel we’re incredibly lucky to a have a second Drab Majesty album already. So, here we are, at the start of 2017, with The Demonstration. Brace yourself. If you liked Careless, prepare to pick your jaw up off the floor – The Demonstration is astonishingly good – the album retains the feel of its predecessor but manages to build on that foundation a more definitive sound that simply feels more expansive while simultaneously more intricate.
Before we have a look deeper into this album, I want to take note of producer Josh Eustis’s involvement. Every single project he’s been involved with lately has been stunning: Youth Code’s A Place To Stand, Them Are Us Too’s Remain, The Black Queen, Sons Of Magdalene. And Drab Majesty’s latest is no exception. Incredible.
Drab Majesty’s gothic/post-punk aesthetic burns an alien-blue flame on The Demonstration.
The 80’s synth sounds on intro track “Induction” lead into “Dot In The Sky” and right from the get go, one can hear a new-found insistence permeating through Drab Majesty. An uptempo beat works succinctly with the post-punk guitar sound, the lush synth work and DeMure’s deep, gothy vocal. It has become crystal clear that the band have nailed their niche adroitly. “39 By Design” drops the tempo and increases the darkness with a more sombre tone. Again, constructed around DeMure’s center stage vocal and an other-worldly, almost palpable melody. After only a few songs into this album you clearly realise the production and mix is exquisite. Far from sounding overproduced, it just sounds huge. “Not Just A Name”, featuring backing vocals from Tropic Of Cancer’s Camellla Lobo, has a magical, shoegaze-esque vibe to it, with beautiful, lush synth work throughout. Another highlight is “Too Soon To Tell”. Another super catchy cut on the album, its propulsive rhythm drives a melodic new-wave tinged, post-punk anthem. This needs to be heard.
Eery interlude piece “A Spire Points At The Heavens” quickly makes way for standout track “Kissing The Ground”. Added distortion to the guitar sound, a more aggressive vocal delivery and an urgent drum attack make this one of the more energetic songs on The Demonstration; it song conveys Drab Majesty’s dynamic capabilities well and should be a live favourite. “Forget Tomorrow”‘s sinister tone is malignantly addictive, and with the chorus melody providing a balanced reprieve, the song’s clever song structure displays a strong artistic confidence.
The Demonstration is an undoubtedly essential acquisition from this unique LA act. Buy it.