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Debbie Christ - Tower (Ugly Duck Records)

26 May 2024

Genres. Pfft! Who needs them? Certainly not Montreal mavericks Debbie Christ. Well, I’m not sure if they are just ignoring the idea of genres altogether, trying to employ as many as they can in one album or trying to fuse genres that have no business hanging out together into whole new sounds. Whatever they are doing, they are not using these musical templates in any way that comes close to familiar. And that is what makes things so brilliant.

Even more brilliant is that, whilst you could easily use terms such as art-rock, experimental music or even avant-garde as a ballpark description, Debbie Christ does the one thing that their peers in such realms always seem to fail at. Such labels are often warning signs that the music will be challenging, perhaps even to the point of being unlistenable. Debbie Christ don’t fall into that trap, their songs might be odd and intriguing, certainly unique but they are also melodic and accessible. The songs found here are like anagrams of pop and rock…familiar elements put together in new and interesting arrangements.

“I’ve Got Time” sounds like a country song looking for a career in heavy metal. “We Carry On” is PJ Harvey as a folk artist or perhaps Mazzy Star doing an impression of Bowie. “Surrender” sounds like a song disappearing and drifting away on the west wind, and there is even room for a bit of beguiling spoken word with “11/19/18”.

If you like music that ambushes your expectations or perhaps swerves them all together. If you like music that not just pushes the boundaries of genres but runs one roughshod through any number of others. If you like music that can’t be pinned down in terms of genre, era, sound, style, or purpose, then this is definitely for you.