“They Say You’re a Demon”
Men of a certain age probably best remember the song “Wicked Game” for its award-winning and titillating video, featuring Chris Isaak rolling around on a beach with supermodel Helena Christensen. But try to get that image out of your head (it might not be easy) and recall that it was actually a really good song.
Colorado’s Oxeye Daisy is here to reclaim the song and restore its haunting frustration and desperation. To close their newest EP, the dream-pop quintet layers a haze of swirling guitars and synths over Isaak’s lyrics. And the three originals that precede the song are even better.
The group proudly channels its 1990s influences. The opening track of the EP, “How Do You Know,” sounds like a slow-burning mashup of the Cranberries and Mazzy Star. It is followed by a soft-loud-soft rave-up named “Beth” alternately whispered and howled by singer Lela Roy.
Things get even louder and heady on the thrashing “Girls Are the New Boys,” an instant surf-rock classic. Roy howls like the titular demon in a performance that sounds like a possessed Janis Joplin fronting the Surfaris and being produced by Frank Zappa.
Oxeye Daisy earned plenty of praise for last year’s self-titled debut album. The disc mined other 90s influences from Liz Phair to Yo La Tengo. The band was named Westword’s Best New Rock Band, and the album was praised on Colorado Public Radio.
They smartly followed up the debut quickly with this EP, which is darker, heavier and more textured. The group definitely benefits from the addition of fifth member Stephen Pamas. He is the lead singer of Hello, Mountain, but here he mainly provides harmonies and melodic synth work.
– By Steve Graham