Suicide Squeeze Records (label)
11 October 2018 (released)
11 October 2018
The fuzz is strong on Death Valley Girls’s follow-up to 2016’s ‘Glow in the dark, ‘Darkness Rains’. Where the former sought to elevate the illuminated, this one attempts to set free the spiritually myopic from their prison-prisms: enlightenment offered, apply within.
Channelling Riot Grrl’s stance, Corin ‘Sleater-Kinney’ Tucker’s strangulated yelping and 70s UK riff-rockers Girlschool and centred around Bonnie Bloomgarden and Larry Schemel (whose sister Patty - also in Hole - was a founding figure) DVG stalk Hollyweird boulevard so you don’t have to. Ever.
Self-described as ‘Californian doom-boogie’ the opening ‘More dead’ makes enough clatter to stir the interred, sonic bone-shaking and spirit-shaking in the vein of The Cramps’s B-movie schlock horror with Bloomgarden’s snorting retort ‘You’re more dead than alive’ setting the tone for what lies ahead. ‘(One less thing) Before I die’ and ‘Disaster is what we’re after’ continue the manifesto, warnings and scornings blithely uttered and scattered. Incidentally, head Stooge Iggy Pop appears in the video to ‘Disaster … ‘
‘Unzip your forehead’ can be heard as a satire on the fake face-masking industry or the machinations of the media: both occasions require the scalpel to the scalp, all pain no gain. Like Martha Reeves’s call to dance in revolt, The Runaways-like riot rock of ‘Street Justice’ shows that celebration equals emancipation and liberation. An anthem to occupy the 99%, 100% of the time.
‘Occupation: Ghost Writer’ finds Bloomgarden summoning Siouxsie’s Sioux’s banshee wail spelling ‘j-u-j-u’, a spell casting augmented by a voodoo organ-winder. The poison pen writes its own death warrant.
The finale ‘TV in jail on Mars’ is a missive from afar, evocative of a surfing sci-fi love song in the outer limits of the twilight zone, bewitching and bedevilling nursery rhyme vocals transmitted and submitted as snaking bass enchants the listener in a hypnotic haze, a mental maze.
Beware: darkness reigns as the Cali light wanes, with Death Valley Girls’s back-to-basics bruising blues signalling brighter times for those who choose. Opt in before it’s too late, don’t look back in (Kenneth) Anger.