ALBUM REVIEW: Black Dresses Come Out to Play on ‘Love And Affection for Stupid Little Bitches’

With their third release of 2019, the experimental duo has finally begun to garner some much deserved attention.

On Love and Affection for Stupid Little Bitches, Toronto duo Black Dresses (Devi McCallion and Ada Rook) find a new precision that refines the ideas first mined on their earlier experiments.

The cheap, distorted timbres recall the work of Peaches, while the autotune vocals and larger-than-life pop production has a Farrah Abraham vibe, but with a more intentional edge.

That’s not to say that Black Dresses aren’t having any fun. You’ll often hear laughter and sarcastic valley girl ramblings (“CARTOON NETWORK”), but the duo balances a joyous passion for the music with an air of seriousness often lacking in today’s experimental underground.

Their vocal performances are incredibly dynamic, ranging from the quietest whispers to the loudest screams. The style can seem silly on the surface, but Black Dresses have mastered the dramatic build-up, slowly increasing volume and anger as their depressing and self-reflective lyrics stage an emotional climax. This is especially evident on “HERTZ.”

The loudest moments have a mid-2000s screamo sound that works incredibly well against the harsh but fun instrumentals, which feel like familiar and nostalgic structures filtered through an industrial and noise pop lens .

The melodies are instantly catchy, but they’re being played on (or alongside) synths that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Nine Inch Nails track. The instrumentals do occasionally feel a bit lazy, as if Black Dresses is relying on their unique style to carry the song (“BLOOM”), but they usually manage to balance simple pop with complex industrial.

Black Dresses definitely deserve the hype they’re getting, and this will makes for more than a promising introduction.

Score: 🎮🎮🎮🎮/5

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