Jan 2021 01

Album CoverShe Pleasures Herself
Album: XXX
Category: Post-punk / Darkwave
Label: Manic Depression Records
Release Date: 2020-02-26


 

Since the band’s 2017 Fetish debut, the Portuguese trio of Nuno Varudo, Nuno Francisco, and David Wolf – collectively known as She Pleasures Herself – has been steadily inflicting their abrasively attractive brand of erotically charged music upon the European underground; like the first album, the equally lascivious XXX is an amalgam of singles the group has been steadily unveiling, collected into a darkly vibrant package that is sure to send a few chills down one’s spine.

From songs like the opening “Ich Bin Dead,” “25 Whores,” and especially “Abuse,” one might think that She Pleasures Herself is sticking to the formula the band has established for itself, with Varudo’s guttural and monotone baritone hovering like a domineering yet ghostlike presence atop layers of Wolf’s icy synths and guitars, Francisco’s gritty beats hitting the eardrums hard like the lashes of a dominatrix’s whip demanding servitude and compliance. However, XXX finds She Pleasure Herself improving upon these qualities through a more measured and harmonious approach to the songwriting; it would seem as though the band has learned to pull back from the frigid excesses that made the previous album so impervious, preferring this time to draw the listener further into the sonic dungeon of delights. Songs like “Darkroom,” “Ghost Wave,” and “Visions” possess the kind of darkly enticing melodiousness that made The Sisters of Mercy so revered in the annals of goth/rock. Indeed, there are times when Varudo’s voice manages to attain an emotive resonance that belies his throaty low register, the reverb effects that drenched his voice on the previous album now much more tastefully integrated. This is especially noticeable on “Private Hell,” in which the interplay between him and Ash Code’s Alessandro Belluccio making for one of the album’s highlights. Similarly, Bestial Mouths’ Lynette Cerezo provides a heavenly co-lead harmony on “The Weeping” that brilliantly plays as counterpoint to Varudo, the scathing distortion of the bass and the crystalline airiness of the guitars.

Indeed, XXX follows from where Fetish left off, once again providing an effective soundtrack for engaging in darkly amorous desires; it’s a somewhat inconsistent listen as few songs still suffer from the emotional detachment of the previous album, which conflicts with the slicker production values and refined songwriting. All in all, XXX is an improvement for She Pleasures Herself… they just need to work out some of the kinks… yes, pun intended.
 
Track list:

  1. Ich Bin Dead
  2. Obscure
  3. Private Hell (feat. Ash Code)
  4. Darkroom
  5. Ghost Wave (feat. Crying Vessel)
  6. Extreme
  7. 25 Whores
  8. Abuse
  9. Visions
  10. The Weeping (feat. Lynette Cerezo & Bestial Mouths)
  11. Disposable

 
She Pleasures Herself
Facebook, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube
Manic Depression Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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