For those not in the know, Krow is the moniker of Rockbitch vocalist Julie Worland. They were, indubitably, one of the most culturally significant bands ever, in the entire history of music. However, unjustly maligned by the media and many others, through all kinds of vile prejudice and hypocrisy, for their sincere, open and honest displays and representations of sexuality, sexual freedom and paganistic views, they sadly called it a day in 2002. Re-emerging on the scene, around 2005, in their stateside incarnation, MT-TV, they finally ceased activity as a band in 2008 (albeit the wider commune remained and remains a healthy and thriving entity). They are sorely missed by many.
Skip forward eight years and 2016 saw the unexpected but incredibly fucking welcome return of Krow, with her debut solo work, 'Kromance'. And now we have her follow-up upon us, with the release of 'Demon, I'. Genre-wise, the rock/metal/industrial Rockbitch underpinnings are absent, in favour of what she's described as punk-EDM. Crafted within a framework of dark electronica, the five tracks on offer here are actually so much more than any genre label would have you believe. Sure, there are punk elements within EDM stylings... BUT, the sheer emotional power of the music transcends any sense of genre affiliation.
The Prodigy might very well be a big-name point of reference for Krow's latest work... particularly in how guitars and samples embellish and flesh out the EDM beats. In fact, a flawless balance has been struck here, between raw and dirty punked-up sonics and the polished, though hard-hitting, EDM percussion... just like The Prod.... however, Krow's voice is what sets this apart from everything else. In fact, 'Demon, I' blows just about every other fucker out of the water. Welcome back, Julie! It's an unbelievable joy to have your magnificent voice resonate within my very being once again!
Anti-establishment... anarchic... iconoclastic... call it what you will, it's fair to say that 'Demon, I' is perhaps more punk in attitude than style. However, there are some punked-up passages, both overt and less obvious. There's the punk-rap over 'X No Y' for a blast of angst-fuelled anarchy, or the many parts infused with poetically dissonant guitars for a more subtle punk affiliation. Generally, though, as I've already noted, the raw aggression and raw emotion inherent in every bar of music over which Krow sings lifts this above genre semblance. 'Demon, I', for me, is purely about the emotional experience... as all sincerely conceived and executed art should be. And this hits hard and deep on an emotional level. It's as captivating and absorbing as it is exhilarating and energising. And, dare I say, emotionally empowering in a cathartic sense. And cognitively nourishing.
Co-written and co-produced with Bad Dog (aka. Rockbitch's The Beast), the five tracks on 'Demon, I' hit compositional and production perfection. It all sounds so fucking incredible. The resonant, dirty, yet polished, fleshed-out EDM percussion provides the perfect sonic backdrop for the innate power of Krow's voice... which, I hasten to add, is in fine shape all these years on. She still has such an unbelievably wide range, in terms of tonality, style, emotional expression, etc. And Rockbitch aficionados will spot a smattering of cross-references to 'Motor Driven Bimbo' - notably, during the title track, which borrows from 'The Church', with Krow's "I, I, I, I am devil-made" lines. And the intro to 'Sexmenco' has hints of the intro to 'Essex Girl'.
Bottom-line, I might as well already declare this as release of the year for 2018. While I've already awarded top marks to a small number of other albums, 'Demon, I' is on a whole new level. I'm certain that nothing will better this. Absolutely fucking phenomenal!
Review by Mark Holmes
12th March 2018
2) X No Y
4) Woman Not a Man
5) Demon, I
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...this hits hard and deep on an emotional level. It's as captivating and absorbing as it is exhilarating and energising. And, dare I say, emotionally empowering in a cathartic sense. And cognitively nourishing."