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Avant Garde

Experience Drab Majesty’s – Modern Mirror + Visuals

Andrew Clinco has been primarily known through the indie rock scene, either as being part of the excellent Marriages trio, alongside Emma Ruth Rundle and Greg Burns, or from the post-punk audiovisual project VR Sex. But somewhere along the way there was something pulling Clnco towards a darker dimension. In order to harness this energy the alter-ego of Deb DeMure came to life, and so a new project was born in Drab Majesty. With this new vehicle DeMure travels through the synth driven edge of dark wave, and has so far unleashed two excellent works in debut Careless and sophomore record The Demonstration.

Now DeMure is about to go for the trifecta with Drab Majesty’s new record Modern Mirror. And so the trip down the ‘80s extravagant scene rabbit hole begins, as Drab Majesty invokes the post-punk progression, the dreamy ambiance, the hooks that never cease to wonder and a gothic touch. “A Dialogue” opens this work and immediately plunges the scenery into a darkened state, with the minimal percussion allowing more space for the synths. “The Other Side” soon follows and here it is the verbose bass line with its steady delivery builds the foundation for a hauntingly imposing vocal performance. Similarly, the lead work of “Ellipsis” further expose this dark world, calling upon the melodic edge that acts like Fields of the Nephilim have pioneered, albeit delivered with a synth wave element that provides the tonality with an intrinsically sweeter quality.

Label: Dais Records

Yet, this dreamy and otherworldly essence is just the tip of the iceberg for Drab Majesty, and throughout this work it feels like the darker manifestations are always just a breath away. “Noise of the Void” establishes this change in perspective, as the dreamy tones mutate, and while they still carry some of Drab Majesty’s melody and charm, they are now projected into a much dimmer scenery.

There is an inherent element of melancholia that defines the new wave scene, and by extension the dark wave approach. The wonderful “Oxycotin” highlights this quality masterfully, weaving its arachnoid webs through synths and subsequent waves of distortion, pinpointing this elusive substance. It is an element that is almost camouflaged, hidden in plain sight for Drab Majesty, and it is something that is further mirrored on the album’s cover. In a plain, ordinary setting, in this case a small store, there is an alien entity simply looking through the magazines. It is a moment of magical realism, and one that brings to the front notions of alienation of differentiation in a very subtle, yet poignant manner. It is this exact approach that drives Drab Majesty in Modern Mirror, and what leads to balancing the darkness of darkwave with the catchiness of post-punk in such a stunning manner.

Written By

Sound engineer, sonic manipulator, record hunter and writer/contributor for a variety of webzines.

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