Often young bands know what type of music they want to make before they know how to make it. She Rex is one such band. They’re fans of M.I.A. and Queens of the Stone Age, and here on their debut EP they attempt to merge both influences. Unfortunately it ends up sounding like an awkward mash-up mix, where someone has just taken a garage album and a rap album and squished them together, without much care or thought in what they’re doing. The fact they’re making ‘rap-rock’ is satisfying enough.
The band obviously wants to convey a degree of danger – seen in the EP’s cover and lyrical content – but the music has no teeth. The vocal delivery is so straightforward and bland that the militant lyrics are rendered embarrassing, as if even vocalist Nikkita Rast doesn’t care about what she’s saying. The chorus of ‘Power’, for instance (“P-O-W-E-R to P-E-O-P-L-E”) comes across as an uninspired chant at a street protest.
There’s a good garage band buried within the EP – in particular the keyboard flourishes are quite inspired – but it’s nowhere near diverse or interesting enough to accommodate the stilted vocal delivery shoehorned over it. The vocals never change, making everything awkward and leaving the listener praying for some kind of change that never arrives.
It ends up hard to know where to point the blame. Either the band needs to shake up their approach, to make Rast’s vocals more accommodating, or Rast needs to come up with a fresher delivery. They’re still a young group, so hopefully they can develop a unique sound of their own soon. Until then, She Rex is all bark and no bite.
BY LEONARDO SILVESTRINI
She Rex is out now through MGM.