Battered but still unadorned with plasticity, the dark melodies dance with reckless abandon in “Pornstar.” They quake and rustle against the rhythm of a pained melody in “Bonesaw” and struggle to define the tone of the music with a casualness that impales the lyricism with a strange sense of irony. There is no overstating their importance to the record God is Dead in general, but they’re hardly the only feature I would recommend taking a closer look at.
To properly understand this work, we’ve got to look and listen even deeper than we typically would in a pop release, which isn’t the most common of requests but still something that will set this experience apart from any others you encounter this season. DEVORA is not interested in creating the straightforward singer/songwriter storylines that so many of her peers seem to be obsessed with at the moment; in this new EP, she paints a picture that is entirely her own and indebted to the Gothicism of post-punk’s most reverent players without lending any of the narratives over to the old-school.
“Wild West” isn’t nearly as aggressive as its name would imply it is, but while both this song and the title track lack some of the bitter sharpness that their lyrics might suggest DEVORA is capable of producing on her own, this isn’t to say the current tone isn’t satisfying. There’s something quite captivating about the way she’s able to control the mood of the music just by leaning into a melody as she does in these tracks, especially in a single like “Bonesaw,” and she isn’t having to exaggerate her vocal in the mix with any external elements.
Through the charisma of her voice – and not much else – she’s filling the role of four or five instruments, pushing anyone within earshot to the edge of their seat, which is reason enough to give God is Dead a close listen this January. Although it’s a vocal-powered set, this could be one of the more engrossing EPs I’ve come across from any indie artist this year, no matter the genre or scene in question.
Whether it be the gentle harmony of “Bonesaw,” the lustiness of the distant vocal melody in “Wild West” or the provocative use of physical prowess in “Pornstar,” DEVORA proves herself to be quite the unpredictable but skillful player in God is Dead, which I hope will only be the blueprint for her sound as she comes out of the underground and secures a place in the hierarchy of alternative music this year.
2022 was not the best for independent beats by any means, but instead of following the same ideals that a lot of her contemporaries haven’t been able to get a whole lot out of, DEVORA turned to the studio’s immersive environment and the refinements she has acquired in her development are never lost in translation here. God is Dead is a powerful and meandering record, and if you haven’t already given it a listen, I think you need to make a point of doing so before the month is over.