Whatever extra dimensional fountain of inspiration that the electric duo of Deb Demure and Mona D are tapped into, it has yet to fail them, and only continues to raise them at a steep incline of already stellar quality. The latest transmission from the glittering, tear streaked ethereal comes in the form of Drab Majesty’s third full length, Modern Mirror, and sees the two piece wielding paradox and contradiction in the way of emotion and technical skill with a stunning elegance.
Much like the visual personas that Drab Majesty inhabit in their live show and album covers, each subsequent record displays a notable evolution in their abilities as a band, constantly growing, but never losing touch with that same core of tragic longing that birthed it in the first place. This change is likely in large part due to the gradual embrace of Mona D into the mix, as Drab Majesty was initially the solo work of Deb alone. From simply a live player, Mona D has come to take a key role in the band’s DNA, even taking the vocal helm on the single, “Oxytocine”, which is a serious contender for strongest song on an album that is barren of filler.
Modern Mirror feels simultaneously so different from its predecessor, The Demonstration, while still retaining the uncanny power that has come to define Drab Majesty’s sound. Deb’s guitar work is as airy and intangible as ever, weaving gradually, deceptively complex compositions, made somehow more intensely emotive when interlaced with the groove laden drum machine and synths as light as snow.
There has always been a heavy presence of 80’s goth and pop in Drab Majesty’s music, but as with any other genre the band play with, somehow they have always been able to constantly roam in the blurred thresholds between, remaining never quite definable. However, Modern Mirror draws more rock into its primarily pop atmosphere in a song like “The Other Side”, which retains echoes of something closer to Duran Duran’s, “Hungry Like The Wolf”; but just when that comparison comes into consideration, it is lost just as quick, washed over by Drab Majesty’s own, unrelenting personality.
“Noise Of The Void” inhabits its own namesake, presenting a nebulous pocket universe, in which the listener is made weightless in a sea of crystalline synth that cuts gently into the heart with its air of intoxicating sadness. “Dolls In The Dark” follows suit, and offers a slight contrast in its more hopeful, upbeat tone, but even then, there is a sense of acute sorrow in every note. That defining paradox of Drab Majesty is their apparently effortless fission of joy and sadness, causing the listener to be caught up in a tangle of feelings all at once, resulting in an unreal dreamscape that is matched in it’s intoxicating aura only by the emotional tax it demands.
Deb Demure has called Drab Majesty’s music, ‘tragic wave’, which is more apt a description than perhaps any other. But Modern Mirror sees new extremes to the spectrum that their music reach. Depths of introspective melancholy matched by fresh heights of hope and confidence. The latter is best embodied in the album’s closer, “Out Of Sequence”, which leaves us hungering for more, but somehow deeply fulfilled.
DAIS RECORDS will once again present the universe with the latest chapter in Deb and Mona’s non-terrestrial world.