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Souls are as frigid as their music: Toronto’s newest noise-pop duo Black Dresses

Blog/MusicMarch 18th 2019
Teodor Zetko

Photography by Maya Fuhr for thefader.com

Toronto’s newest noise-pop duo Black Dresses comprises Devi and Rook, two polarizing artists whose individual identities mesh terrifyingly well. Devi’s lazy-girl flow stands in complete contrast to her screaming, while Rook shyly sings into the mic and produces industrial melodies. Following the success of their debut album, WASTEISOLATION, their next effort, THANK YOU fixates on everything that Black Dresses encompasses, amplified exponentially, literally and figuratively.

Despite comparisons to innovative and enigmatic artists like SOPHIE and Death Grips, Black Dresses’ unorthodox genre bending is like no other. Noise, pop, industrial, and alternative are all mixed together in order to produce an album worthy of reaching #3 in popularity on Bandcamp.

The album opens with heavy distortion and a resonating expression of sarcastic gratitude, perfectly introducing you to the themes of the album, where sadism and sickness are magnified. The stylistic capitalization of all songs on the album prepare you for Rook and Devi’s scream-and-shout nightmare.

“WATER”, the third song on the album highlights fascism and expands on political agency, providing satirical criticism on censorship and the government. The song finishes with a seamless transition into “DEATH/BAD GIRL”, “she looks like death / fucked in the head / I WANT TO BE HER FRIEND” captivates me. Unfunny irony as an art form prevails, with “death” and “fuck” competing for most popular lyric. This track ends with an emotional monologue by Rook on self-loathing and self-acceptance as a trans woman.

With 666 in their twitter username, a lot of this is expected; they probably sold their souls to produce this album.

“THERE’S NOTHING HERE WORTH DYING FOR” highlights the fruitlessness of martyrdom, over BABYMETAL-style electric guitars and drum machines. This song is a beacon of hope for the future of pop-punk.

“WASTEISOLATION” is the album’s least accessible and most uncomfortable song. Both artists seem scared, pain and trauma are apparent in the lyrics: “bleeding out from old wounds / I know exactly what you’re staring at”. And their souls are as frigid as their music, because they were somehow able to film the music video enjoying the snow in chrome black dresses. With 666 in their twitter username, a lot of this is expected; they probably sold their souls to produce this album.

Check out Black Dresses on Bandcamp and Twitter

Teodor is a radio host at CFMU, listen to more of his curated experimental playlists on Psychojazz, Tuesdays at 5.

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