I am instructed, as all good press releases do, to neither breathe a word of my thoughts until a designated time nor spell the band name with capital letters, due to it bringing bad luck. This is clearly where I’ve been going wrong with my own name all these years. There’s talk of this operation being part of a Russian art collective, should that be the kind of thing that fills your heart with glee before listening to something. Their leader, a teenager called Sarah Persephona, has what might be judged to be ‘an arresting voice’, alternating between sweet faux-naif chirping and another sound as if she was singing whilst being pushed off the top deck of a double decker bus.
Like many bands led by women, the rest of the gang are quickly passed over, though some digging has found that one chap is called Venjamin, which sounds rather like the dad misheard when he was dispatched to register the name at the hospital. They’re actually fairly decent, lots of echo covering, perhaps, if not a multitude of sins then a lack of imagination. There lies the rub. A creeping fear that the combination of an extremely youthful-looking woman leading a band of arty Russians being a ruse to demand credence and worthiness through virtue of their exoticism and a strange inverted sexism, proves more and more gripping as you embark on repeat listens.
This four-track EP, bursting at the ribs with vertiginous key changes is at its lousiest as affected as Radiohead and at its best akin to The Pixies as fronted by a woman. Except, of course, The Pixies fronted by a woman has already happened – The Breeders now clearly referenced so infrequently that it’s possible to lift entire tracts from their admirable canon barely altered and have the collected music press (five writers, one magazine and two websites at the time of writing) falling over themselves ringing hand-bells and declaring second comings and epoch-defining starting pistols.
It’s fine. The EP, not the reactions. It has more than a couple of catchy moments and it’s a welcome reminder of the virtues of the EP versus an album or a single, allowing neither stagnancy to set in nor dissuading interested ears to seek out future releases. Lyrically, it’s a complete travesty, which is all you deserve if you want to let an angry 16-year old write your songs for you. The music industry proves it has lost none of its cynicism and continues to patronise its audiences with the same fatty, epithets and slim rewards.