Drab Majesty’s Highly Anticipated Sophomore LP “The Demonstration” Review
Drab Majesty, for those who aren’t aware, is an ethereal, intergalactic postpunk band created by gender neutral human Deb Demure of L.A. They’ve come a long way since releasing an initial four-track cassette in 2012, most notably with the release of their first LP Careless in 2015 and their collaboration with King Dude last year, Who Taught You How To Love? Now their highly anticipated album The Demonstration is finally here, and it’s more than everything you dreamed it would be. It’s full of atmospheric spacescapes, darkwave melodies, and themes that breach the limits of time and space.
It begins with a minute-long “Induction,” waves of icy, atmospheric, synths, mesmerizing in tone but also slightly sinister as we enter the unknown. A few seconds before the track finishes, an uplifting guitar line rings out and spills over into “Dot In The Sky.” Drums build up the excitement as more synths pour in. The sound can best be described as a blend of postpunk vocals, sophisticated lyrics, ethereal synth sound, and shoegaze influence.
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“39 By Design” has a slightly more depressing tone than the previous track and features some of my favorite lyrics on the whole album. For me the sound is reminiscent of early 80’s Cure, but it has so many different elements mixed in that give the music an intense depth. For example, the chorus in particular gives you the specific feeling of flying through outer space, the lyrics “Did you beam them up into the lights in the sky?” reflecting this perfectly. The song itself has its own completely unique vibe.
Eerily soothing audio from a Heaven’s Gate member finishes “39 By Design” and transitions into “Not Just A Name,” which is slower and a bit more mellow than the last song, but the guitar and vocals are slightly more uplifting. It has a relaxing dreamlike vibe, although the lyrics are particularly existential. “Hath No Form” is a wall of beautiful synthy lo-fi soundscapes devoid of vocals, creating a bridge to what feels like the next.
“Too Soon To Tell” transitions the album over to a faster, slightly more rock-based mood while maintaining those delicious synths we’ve come to love Drab Majesty for. This is easily one of my favorite songs on The Demonstration because of the fun synth elements layered over everything and the theme in the lyrics about the past and future (this album jumps around through time a lot). You’re definitely gonna want to check out the video! “Cold Souls” is another uptempo track leaning on the darkwave side of the spectrum. It’s more lyric based and tells the sad story of a relationship’s reflection. This is one I urge you to listen to specifically because it’s another favorite of mine and I can already tell I’m going to hear it on several different playlists this year.
“A Spire Points At The Heavens” is similar to “Hath No Form,” but it’s much more ominous and focused more on sounds than synths. Frankly, it’s unnerving compared to the rest of the album, which I love. It starts to get louder toward the end, but suddenly finishes with intense, upbeat drums and fun synths. As fun and catchy as the tone of the song is, the lyrics are about a falling out with a lover and feel very personal.
“Forget Tomorrow” is another synth-heavy track, the intro sounding almost entirely like Drab Majesty’s take on synthwave. This is another one of my favorite tracks on the whole album because of how the vocals are constructed in an intimidating tone. The lyrics seem to be about substance abuse and subsequent death. “Behind The Wall” is a strong finisher for The Demonstration. It has a similar, bold vibe to “Forget Tomorrow,” but the sound is more haunting and I’d argue is more darkwave. Lyrically it’s about someone visiting the grave of a loved one, and it’s the lyrics themselves that make this track so powerful. “Knew you’d like the roses even though we know they won’t last / It’s been a year but it’s hard to say when I watched your pass.” The guitar line is also my favorite on the album.
The Demonstration is sure to become a staple at goth clubs across the globe on an even wider level than Careless, and that’s saying something. Don’t forget to check out their tour dates with Cold Cave as well as King Dude below!