Music We Love: She Banshee Releases Self-Titled EP
Halloween is more than two months away, but that doesn’t bother She Banshee—they like to keep it spooky year-round. Their new self-titled EP, which focuses on the occult, magical thinking, and all things mysterious, does not deviate from that overall aesthetic. (The band is fond of letting muted YouTube conspiracy videos play in the background during practice. This is a real shared interest, not a frivolous pastime.) “We’re just spooky people,” lead singer and keyboardist Paisley Parkin says.
There is definite darkness to She Banshee. Parkin is an enigmatic writer whose verses are frequently foreboding or ambiguous. Her writing style has a lot to do with that, as she doesn’t sit down to write deliberately, but waits for things to come to her instead. Often those things aren’t tied to any specific event, place, or subject; they’re freely-associated fragments. “Anybody could listen to one of these songs, hear something, and identify with it,” she says. “I like writing lyrics this way more than writing literally because your audience is going to be able to receive it better.” She mentions how Radiohead’s Thom Yorke wrote large chunks of Hail To The Thief by scribbling down phrases and sentences he liked and drawing them from a hat in order to fight writer’s block. “The listener gives it meaning just by listening and having emotions about it. So if it can drum up anything in them, that’s tight.”
She Banshee is also instrumentally darker than the band’s first full-length album, Postieval. The band underwent a regime change (and a game of musical chairs) in adding Mink Coats’ Jared Starcher on drums and shifting original drummer Trent Reeves—now also a member of Mink Coats—to guitar. The group is keenly focused on taking their sound in a different direction. “Trent has a ton of riffs he’s been sitting on for years, and we wanted to keep the music chaotic, but with a lot more structure,” says bassist Michael Gerrard. They’ve certainly succeeded at that. The EP has a deeper, more streamlined sound than its predecessor, but retains all the aggressive entropy.
“We’re not going to be writing slow jams anytime soon,” Reeves assures us. He points out that one of the band’s goals was to write an EP that essentially functions as one work, divided into movements.
She Banshee’s first three tracks could indeed be mistaken for one sprawling 12-minute opus. It’s a little bit prog, a little punk rock, and definitely a little creepy. And all of these elements, the new and old, work together really well. Take the record’s longest song, “Cult Member”— the first two minutes are classic She Banshee insanity, followed by a bridge and a vocal interlude, capped off with a breakdown-turned-stoner-metal-climax that will literally give you chills. In the middle of all that power, you can’t help but feel haunted by Parkin’s esoteric prophesying: “I pray on my knees every day / I can’t deal with what’s around me / It’s coming down on me, darling / We’ll surely see if we all need to be saved.” The band is starting work on a new full-length record, but in the meantime we’ll be here trying to get to the bottom of She Banshee’s infinite mythos.
Header image by Ellie Alonzo
Album art by Annavittoria Conner
Header image design by Shaina Sheaff