Say Psych: EP Review: Black Doldrums – She Divine

Black Doldrums, the lauded London-based power-duo, have recently released their new EP She Divine on Club AC30.

Known for delivering layered echo-drenched guitar with heavy, relentless drums, Black Doldrums have created transient and euphoric dark psychedelia and they’ve once again captured their raw, untamed energy with the help of producer Pat Collier at Perry Vale Studios (The Jesus and Mary Chain, X-Ray Spex, Purple Heart Parade, Is Bliss).  

Utilizing waves of reverb-drenched distortion, singer-guitarist Kevin Gibbard and powerhouse drummer Sophia Lacroix construct an awe-inspiring sonic monolith over the five tracks that make up the EP. She Divine refers to Aldous Huxley’s 1954 psychedelia-induced masterpiece ‘The Doors of Perception’ where constant reference is made to the search for divinity and how all cultures are united in the need for that same search, despite their opposing outcomes. Gibbard drew a parallel between the concept of spiritual and religious guidance and his own relationships; “It’s more about support and looking out for those around you. There are some lyrics in there just for us and I like to use the imagery of the word ‘divine’ to use as a general subject matter. Angels are among us but they’re your everyday heroes, your best mate or the backbone of your band.”

The two also took influence from the tragic story of Betty May Golding (aka Tiger Woman), a 1920’s singer, dancer and model who was a member of the London Bohemian set, and this informed their artwork. Golding was a member of a Parisian criminal gang and was associated with occultist Aleister Crowley, eventually attempting to murder him. She also later overcame a serious cocaine addiction and finally returned to Britain to write a fascinating and compelling autobiography, of which the band found endless inspiration.

Opening title track ‘She Divine’ plunges straight into layers of swirling guitar, empowered drum beats and hazy vocals, very much the product of a shoegaze legacy. Its delicate and intricate with fine nuances that could be attributed to a much bigger band than the duo. ‘Those With a Rope Around their Neck (Don’t Always Hang)’ has become a favourite in their live sets with its evocative lyrics, layered guitar and steering beat. Live it packs a punch and their recording of it is no less enchanting. ‘Hearts That Beat, Will Never Mend’ is a different track to its predecessors, the track is cleaner, allowing the guitar to shine alongside a cacophony of cymbal crashes.

‘Mae’s Desire’ features BRMC esq guitar interludes with the complex interspersing the simple, it is the most psychedelic track on the album and showcases their range of influences. ‘T-W-R-T-N-D-H (Broken Light Mix)’ is the bands only collaboration to date, closes the EP. They state that “we wanted to give people more this time around and experimented with remixing and including a guest appearance for the first time. Because we are so tight it’s been hard to collaborate in the past but this time it felt natural and easy so we went with it”. It features laden sitar alongside the recognisable Black Doldrums sound and shows what can be achieved when the unexplored is utilised.

Black Doldrums have carved their way due to their explosive live performances which leave onlookers stunned, and with recorded offerings such as this, it’s not hard to see why their appeal has grown.

Order the record here

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