Album Review : Drab Majesty’s ‘Modern Mirror

Drab Majesty creates in light and dark. There’s the Gothic chill of Pornography-era Cure and the synth pop lift of early OMD, Talk Talk, and Animotion. Deb Demure started Drab Majesty while still drumming for Los Angeles experimental rock band Marriages. Donning white make-up and a white wig Demure hides all traces of some bloke you’d pass on the street. We are left with a strange and beautiful creature making dark and beautiful music. 

By second album The Demonstration(2017) Drab Majesty expanded into a duo with the addition of Mona D. The sound was more refined and mixed elements of darkwave, shoegaze, and dreampop into their lo-fi 80s sound. They are sonically close to bands like Cold Cave, The Soft Moon, and Nothing, with a slightly hazier approach. They even toured with Deafheaven, which I completely get given Deafheaven’s penchant for hazy beauty amongst the jagged riffs, primal screams, and breakneck rhythms. 

On Drab Majesty’s newest album, the catchy and pop-fueled Modern Mirror, Demure and Mona D have created their most accessible and bright album yet. 

After nearly two years straight of touring Drab Majesty unplugged and settled in Athens, Greece to write their next album. The Mediterranean Sea and Ovid’s “Narcissus” were inspiration to create the dense and beautiful Modern Mirror. 

“A Dialogue” opens the album on a monolithic note. The grandiose quality of Disintegration with the punk sensibility of The Damned start things off right. “The Other Side” is all synth pop beauty and early 80s alternative. Demure’s voice really is one of the most powerful sounds in modern electro pop, and it comes thru loud and clear here. “Ellipsis” is a driving summer jam, part A-ha and part Missing Persons. This is a stunning pop song.

Elsewhere “Noise of The Void” channels The Sisters of Mercy with a slow motion darkness. “Oxytocin” is an absolutely gorgeous pop track, complete with driving rhythm and dreamy guitar. A late night drive tune for sure. “Long Division” revisits some of those Robert Smith vibes, had the Cure been produced by Flood. “Out of Sequence” closes the album with not a sigh but a rebel yell. Another driving rhythm and dense layers of synth work through over seven minutes.  If you close your eyes you’d swear it was 1981. Gary Numan would approve.

Drab Majesty are quickly becoming one of the best bands in the darkwave/dreampop scene. Beautifully ornamented pop songs with just enough darkness to keep your Goth friends coming back. Modern Mirror is an exquisite dark delight. 

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