Taxidermy

Taxidermy

Score

Where once she shallowly proclaimed to love your money,[B] Katie Jane Garside[/B] now wants more intangible things...

Where once she shallowly proclaimed to love your money, Katie Jane Garside now wants more intangible things. These days she wants to haunt your dreams too.

It’s been a torrid affair getting from there to here. After Daisy Chainsaw ripped apart, Garside was left close to breakdown and retreated to the hills as far away as possible from musical partner Crispin Gray. Reunited, and based on that frisson, Queen Adreena were always going to be a little out of the ordinary.

Their return heralds a subtle, but fundamental, change in dynamics. Now writing her own lyrics instead of being Gray‘s mouthpiece, this time it’s personal. Sometimes disturbingly so. Because ‘Taxidermy’ is an apt title – this is about stuffing and mounting the psychological monsters that lurk under the bed.

So, while carrying on Daisy Chainsaw‘s predilection for rock as infantile nightmare, here the scope is much wider than a one-track take on banshee pop. There are some obvious precedents, notably Bjork and PJ Harvey, but much more than either of those two reference points, this debut album is frequently akin to eavesdropping on psychotherapy.

Veering between absolutes like love/hate, black/white, logic/madness, these songs walk a tightrope between serrated guitar lines and moments of twinkling repose. So ‘Yesterday’s Hymn’ is a genuinely beautiful, barely-there twist into trip-hop minimalism, while ‘I Adore You’ and ‘X-ing Off The Days’ grate with pain and churning guitars. With everything else straddled somewhere between these extremes, it’s uncomfortable listening, but raises ‘Taxidermy’ far above the simple world of sub-goth moves and ripped-up antique dresses of their past.

‘Are The Songs My Disease?’ inquires one title. Not on this showing – they might just turn out to be Garside‘s saviours from the footnotes of indie infamy.