By: Joe Siess
So, because I am tasked with reviewing Raggy Monster’s newest album, As the Thorn Lures the Widow’s Lip, It Seeks No Wisdom from the Wicker Flies, here’s my raw first reaction.
The first thing that came to my mind while I was listening to Raggy Monster play Fool’s Gold live in Miami on Balcony TV, was that Rachel’s voice vaguely reminds me of Nancy Wilson, the lead singer of Heart. And I love Heart. But don’t get me wrong, she totally possesses her own voice.
Rachel’s manic witch doctor persona gives here an edge I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Wrathful yet creative. Casting riddled incantations from the stage. Powerfully feminine, like a “Yellow Woman” rattling and channeling some kind of ancient force in a dark and wild place. In that case she might be channeling a little bit of Jim Morrison. It appears as though that might be the case and I love it. The music shows me skulls and butterflies. The way good music should.
Rachel also has this Lykke Li or maybe Niki and the Dove thing going on. So I guess i’d describe her sound and style as a combo between a Swedish Nancy Wilson and a Southern witch doctor. It all melts together to produce a tremendous allure I might add.
Raggy Monster as a whole is magnetic in the way they perform. They all seem to know how to submit to the madness of creativity and channel their collective force into music. Songs from the album like Iyiyi, a powerful song i’d recommend watching live on Youtube, demonstrates exactly what I mean. Guinevere is a song that i’d say best captures the essence of Raggy Monster.
However, I think one of my favorite songs from the album was Hannah. Mainly because it rides out like a Johnny Cash song with that grainy, folky vibe it’s got going. It’s kind of romantic really. Visions of unknown horizons. Westward bound like a love lost. But that arresting, manic, poetic mysticism thing comes out in songs like Morgan’s Organs and Guinevere.
The album is diverse in the sense that the sound never stays the same. So it pans out spontaneously because each song is different. But they have this high energy craziness when the perform live, and Rachel reminds me more of Janis Joplin than Robert Plant when they cover Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You.
But who cares what I think, right? Well obviously you care if you’ve read this far. Weird.
Yes. I guess my final words here should be something encouraging. So… skulls and butterflies.