By Jake Lehman
She Wears Black – EP2
On their second release, Toronto Post-Punk band She Wears Black picks up the energy without losing their integrity.
I oftentimes find myself thankful to be able to engage in the Toronto music scene. We have one of the best and most diverse Indie music scenes in the world at the moment, and there are always new and interesting bands to discover. This is why I like to focus on local acts, because I think we have some of the best to offer to the musical world, and I’m admittedly a pretty proud Canuck. The Toronto scene proves that just when you think you’ve heard it all, a band like She Wears Black can come in and knock you flat on your ass. The psychedelic/post-punk group first introduced themselves to the world on last year’s eponymous EP. The release was dark, moody, and atmospheric with standout tracks like “Lost” containing violin (seriously the use of violin in this band is so incredible, and original) and huge, sweeping guitar lines melodically reminiscent of bands like Bauhaus or Failure (also found in track “Love Me”). All of this was presented while keeping the subdued and atmospheric elements of a Portishead track (Iga’s soaring vocal work further adds to the comparison). Despite comparisons to this wide range of bands, She Wears Black’s sound is cohesive and all their own.
However, on their new EP2, the band have changed things up a little. The EP opens with “Good Time” and right away there is a noticeable change. The band feels both more conservative and more experimental with the use of musical space. The infectious and repetitive bass line feels a little more present and in-your-face this time around, hooking the listener in right away while the guitar continues to be expansive and really makes the track sound huge overall. The upbeat feel along with the extremely catchy vocals show incredible pop-sensibility (in the best way). The track is quick, punchy and to the point, reminding me somewhat of something the band Speedy Ortiz might release. The second and third tracks “Smile” and “Walk” respectively reintroduce some of the moodiness from the first EP albeit at a slightly quicker pace, adding a sense of urgency to the tracks. In fact, overall this EP has a much quicker pace than it’s predecessor, adding a new and unexpected energy to their sound that wasn’t present in their previous EP but is wholeheartedly welcomed nonetheless. The guitar lead in “Smile” is a particularly good example of this, displaying both a darkness and an urgency not often mastered by most modern indie bands. The drumming on “Walk” also stands out, with the little accents on the ride and almost reggae like shuffle adding a real sense of flair. The aforementioned use of violin in the chorus is also an absolute plus, adding a cinematic feel to the track.
The standout on this EP is the final track, “Ocean of Love”, a culmination of everything the band has presented so far. The song is fast-paced in the verse, driven by the rhythm section and sprawling, airy guitar lines, however the shift into the slow crawling chorus shows a perfect marriage of the dark moodiness of the first EP and the desperate urgency of EP2, especially with the lyrics “The world is all but the ocean of love/She’s falling down.” I have pressed repeat on this track more times that I can count. It grabs a hold on your eardrums and just will not let go.
If you haven’t listened to She Wears Black, do yourself a favour and pick up both of their EP’s, especially as we head into the Autumn season, as their music lends itself almost too perfectly to this wonderful time of year.
Jake Lehman is an avid music junkie and guitarist in the Toronto-based Shoegaze/Noise band Tonemirror. Check them out HERE.