I wonder about your mind
A presentation that’s dead inside
Disgust and disguise
The rainy realm of Portland has brought us the intriguing Princess Ugly. Helmed by J. Christopher-Rome with his piquant poetry and voice, and Christopher Moncrieffe serenading us with his haunting tunes, Princess Ugly have today graced (or is it hexed?) us with their wonderfully macabre six-song ‘Death After Life‘ EP. Christopher-Rome doesn’t just sing; he hisses with a sardonic whisper, dragging those otherwise trippy guitar strums straight into the lap of the gothic demimonde.
“Death After Life is about throwing your hands up and stepping back from all the fatalistic drama,” says the band. “The groove: vigorously steady yet meandering with repeated, droning movement. Serious, syncopated and relentlessly moving forward. Blanketed by a string section at the end. Danceable. “Looking for a good mood tonight.”
Opening strong with the sinister dance floor banger “Body Will Hold,” the profound lyrics delve into the depths of emotional torment and introspection. Evoking images of past traumas and spectral memories, they hint at a psyche scarred by profound pain. Amidst the repetition of self-effacement, there emerges a poignant commentary on the façades we construct under societal pressure to project strength and capability. This confession of heartlessness serves as a chilling testament to the toll such psychological battles exact.
This is followed up by the evocative “Death After Life.” The song captures a palpable yearning for escape from the daily grind, poetically encapsulated in the plea for a “coma.” A sharp critique of pretense emerges, championing authenticity in a world riddled with reflections and familiar subterfuges. Culminating in the clarion call for openness, seen through “glass houses,” the lyrics remind us of our shared existence beneath the vast, starry canopy.
The ominous “For A Moment I Forgot The Desolation” handles vivid imagery of decay and primal rage, underscores our dual nature—capable of joy, yet on the brink of self-destruction. The recurring motifs poignantly highlight life’s transient moments against the backdrop of inescapable melancholy. Growling bass under a heavily dissonant guitar chord progression. Brutally unapologetic. A wait-for-it string arrangement syncopates over chromatic chord progressions. A cacophonous degradation befalls the ending. The slinky guitar number “Sick Push” delves into identity and self-awareness in a menacing whisper, juxtaposing innate desires against societal norms. The song is a reflection of what we become when faced with all of the tensions and challenges today, framed in a calm, bass-heavy, economic, minimalistic, cold, and ghostly strain.
“Recurrence” emphasizes the delicate nature of human relationships and the proximity of shared hardships, creating an introspective exploration of reliance and human frailty while navigating internal conflict and societal constraints, emphasizing resilience amid adversity. Themes of addiction and affliction highlight human struggles in “Not Safe,” poignantly reflecting on human vulnerabilities, relationships, and the fleeting nature of existence.
Listen below and find the EP here:
Princess Ugly penned and recorded these tunes at the aptly-named Drop Dead Ugly Recording Studio, mixing the album alongside the avant-garde stylings of MIDICANCER. The finishing auditory flourish was added by Kevin Nettleingham, taking on mastering duties.
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