Review by Tony Rounce
As the self-appointed President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Anything To Do With Party Fears Fan Club, I received the recent news that the duo’s powerful percussionist Eilis Frawley and singer/frontsperson Maggie Devlin were going their separate ways with extreme dismay. However, one happy bi-product of Eilis’ amicable departure means that we will all have twice as much interesting music to look forward to in the future – and ‘interesting’ is a perfectly understated word with which to describe Eilis’ debut EP ‘Never Too Emotional’, from which the dubby, claustrophobic and ever-so-slightly sinister (in a good way, if there is one!) ‘leave the house’ is the newest ‘single’…
Actually it’s much more than merely interesting, to be honest. It’s normally good to be able to offer some comparisons to existing music for reader reference, but you won’t have heard a lot like this before, however much music you’ve heard so far and however long you’ve been listening. The best I can offer you is a collation of 60s beat poetry and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, but even that isn’t really or nearly accurate.
The combination of raw synth topped, voluminously percussive soundscapes and laconic, semi-philosophical spoken word – not rapping, exactly, more meaningful discourse – is out of the ordinary, and it does takes a bit of getting used to at first. However, once you lock into what Eilis is doing here, it’s hard not to be impressed with the outcome. What that is cannot easily conveyed in print, so please do click on the link and see if you don’t agree that I am right.
Eilis has been releasing songs from this project on her Bandcamp page over the past few months, each new issue helping to build a big picture of what she’s aiming to do with her solo project. Her label’s press release says that the EP “touches on topics of social structures, feminism, mental health, creative insecurities, personal tragedies, and the psychological impacts of living abroad” (in case you didn’t know, Eilis is Australian and I believe she is still based in Berlin) and indeed it does, both acutely and obtusely. Now it can be heard as a whole thing, its potency has never been more apparent. If it doesn’t hit you round the ears with immediate effect, please do persevere – you WILL connect with it, and vice versa, in good time. Both refreshing and provocative by turn, it brings something new and interesting to the table, and I’m sure you will thank me later for insisting that you do so.
As well as creating these invigorating musical episodes, Eilis has also been playing her own solo shows in the UK and elsewhere recently and is due for more of the same soon. I for one am intrigued as to how this will all translate to a live medium, so I can hardly wait….
“Never Too Emotional” is out now on Reckless Yes records and can be found on most if not all of your favourite streaming services.
Follow Eilis on Facebook for further updates!
Main photo by Kate Seabrook