Debbie Christ Releases Debut Album ‘Tower’

Montreal indie-rock outfit Debbie Christ, masterminded and fronted by singer-songwriter and guitarist Clara O’Page, drops their debut long player, Tower,

Talking about music, O’Page explains, “I’m the youngest of six, so I was encouraged to be funny and outgoing — I love to be goofy and make people laugh — but vulnerability was foreign to me. I grew up in an Evangelical household where you just don’t talk about the icky bits. You save those for God. On top of that, my dad’s side is English. It’s a very repressed cultural mindset. So, where I’m typically a clown day to day, music is my place where I can be more serious. Getting into punk music, I gradually got more comfortable disclosing my feelings. I learned that it can be revolutionary just to simply say what you’re actually feeling. That’s very profound for someone like me. Like I’m not someone who cries very easily, so music is how I do my crying. And it evolved to the point where there’s now a definite shock-value element.”

Debbie Christ’s sound blends elements of surf, garage, psychedelia, shoegaze, glam, punk, folk, and spoken word into an assertive art form ranging from stylish minimalism to avant-glam to art-pop experimentation.

The video for the single “Lust!” attempts to portray physical violation as a metaphor for addiction, O’Page clarifies, “I’m not trying to piss people off, but I feel like people need to be shaken up. There are too many ways that we’re all just so… bound up. And it would benefit us all to just be able to break free and have room to breathe. My favorite photographer, for example, is Robert Mapplethorpe. I’m really inspired by his ability to make people question what art is versus what’s just vulgar and over-the-top. And I like dwelling in that place where you’re kind of squirming in your uncertainty. If you do that with a conscience — if you actually have a point — I feel like that can be very useful. Especially if the music underneath really grabs you. And that’s where all the different styles come in. We’re trying!”

Encompassing a dozen tracks, high points on Tower include “I’ve Got Time,” a minimalist punk-lite tune with hints of country giving it a swaying, rolling motion. O’Page’s achy vocals imbue the lyrics with a delicious yearning sensation.

The garage-flavored, shoegazey feel of “Spell,” is low-slung and stripped down to a lusciously woozy melody topped by O’Page’s evocative vocals, rife with ebbing and rising inflections. A personal favorite because of its drifting, lysergic, shoegaze tones, for some reason “We Carry On” conjures up suggestions of Procol Harum.

“Heathen” ties the album off. The song opens on soft guitars rolling into a blues-flavored melody tinted with a light country swing. Dirty guitars roil over the rhythm as O’Page’s almost languid voice gives the lyrics a crying nuance dripping with raw moodiness, like a sad Siren from Homer’s Odyssey. Wonderfully instinctive, the track is vaguely reminiscent of Debbie Harry fronting Traffic playing an Allman Brothers song.

Talking about Tower, O’Page shares, “For me, the act of making music is more like mixed media. My journals are very tactile, and I see slow fashion almost as like a new punk movement. I almost can’t help but see all of these things as going hand in hand — melodies, phrases, visuals, and fabric are always sloshing around in my head. When people listen to the album, that’s the sense I want them to get.”

On their first album, Tower, Debbie Christ reveals a surprisingly unique, innovative sound, at once edgy and sometimes sentimental.

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