Effi Briest - Rhizomes

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2010-05-24

Like 90s alt-country, dream pop pioneers Mazzy Star channelling early, spindly Siouxsie and the Banshees, this debut from Effi Briest is a spooked and spooky creature. Beginning with the spectral title track, the Brooklyn band manage to combine wispy ethereality with squirming, trembling post-punk dynamics. Like fellow Brooklynites Telepathe, Effi Briest have got their The Shining ghost girl thing down pat. Unlike Telepathe, they're far more physical - visceral, even. The tribal drums and contortionist vocals of 'Long Shadow' and 'New Quicksand' are pure Banshees, while the excellent 'Cousins', with its troubled, convoluted jazzy rhythms, recalls The Raincoats at their most fraught.

Throughout Rhizomes, images of bleak winter forests and twisting, leaveless branches are conjured in the mind. Sometimes the music drifts a little too close to cliché, the all-girl group's wiccan otherworldliness edging into 80s goth territory, as on the doomy organ-led 'Nights'. However, the music is never less than luminous, inventive and enthralling. Listening to the odd, jittery almost-disco of 'Mirror Rim', on which the influence of The Slits is palpable, or the somnambulist, ritualistic pounding of 'Wodwoman' is like discovering a great, forgotten post-punk record. Effi Briest may not bring much new to the table here, but so primal is their realisation of their influences, it is impossible to deny the power of this debut.

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