Doom Pop. The words don’t look right together, do they? A music genre associated with BLACK SABBATH and ELECTRIC WIZARD among others next to one that has stemmed from the word ‘popular’ and can usually be found hogging the UK Top 40. Yet that’s what COURTESANS play and there ain’t a damn thing we can do about it. The all-female quartet’s new EP Better Safe Than Sober drops tomorrow, just over a year after debut album 1917 and entirely funded via PledgeMusic.
Opening track Knowhere invokes feelings of both ROAYAL BLOOD and Marilyn Manson, its accessible guitar tones and straightforward structure married with dark overtones, sinister group vocals and a wonderful foundation from drummer Vikki Frances. It’s followed by Feel The Same which contains Sinead La Bella‘s bleak, spoken-word monologues that morph beautifully into a goth rock chorus to make EVANESCENCE proud.
Middle track John Doe is a more stripped back than the rest and does feel a bit like the ‘filler’ song in the mix but it’s boosted by the atmospheric guitar work from Saffire Sanchez that, whilst being minimal, is very effective. The stand out track is Mesmerise, which is foreboding and brooding, rumbling along with a symphonic quality usually only seen with bands like DELAIN, breaking out into a chorus you cannot help but sway to, caught up in a hypnotic trance. It ends with The Tide which features more spoken-word by La Bella but there’s an urgency behind the lyrics this time that help drive the track forward, finishing with those almost seductive tones over a soaring finale.
Okay, so Better Safe Than Sober is probably going to be too light for your average doom metal fan and it’s not perfect, but COURTESANS have done a fine job of combining two very contrasting styles that on paper work about as well as Hayley Williams fronting IRON MAIDEN and for that they deserve all the plaudits.
Better Safe Than Sober is out now via self-release.
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