Demeter – ‘The Year of Goodbye’ | E.P. Review

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Demeter’s debut EP The Year of Goodbye is out now.

Where unadorned femininity reaps

When faced, or should I say ‘eared’ with a new band I tend to be extremely superficial. I become every problem I have with the world today. I criticize the name, the artwork, the tags, the intros, the outros, the simplicity, the complexity, the number of members in the band and how their names sound (does it sound like they had a piano room or a trampoline growing up). It’s kind of like, ‘Oh, God, another band craving the love of my Universe, they must fail’ and I actually like music.

With Brooklyn’s Demeter and their EP The Year of Goodbye I started the same way. Demeter: goddess of agriculture (is this music about vegetables?), too many false positives in an online search (did they really think this through?). EP cover: simple, good shade of blue, vivid yellow, subtle pink, nice family of colours, a woman falling from somewhere to anywhere, holding on to traces of nothing, I can handle this, the font doesn’t make my face crunch, good (but is it good enough?). Word rock: are you kidding me? (the standards go Bob Dylan high when you put a tag like that). And then, the music.

No intro, words right away and the opening lines set the mood:

‘Rosa with the neon yellow hair
Takes the high road when she’s headed to despair’

The colour of the lines matches the colours of the cover. Mirthless female vocal pairs up with a woman leaving someone. The goddess of fertility is waving a pale flag. I like the wordplay (I guess that’s why they call it word rock), ‘dispair’ (to separate) sounds like despair and right away we know why this woman falling is holding onto nothing. They get a lot of points for making this one their first single, even though it’s not the best one in the bunch. The following ‘The Bit, The Bridle’ is the one most likely to get stuck in your head, a lot of hooks and a great refrain. If you stayed still during the first song, now you must move (and sing-along, possibly in harmony). The next round of moves and gloom comes with the folk centrepiece of the album, ‘Beg, Borrow, Steal’. A song with a full sound and a narrative that really holds your attention.

And then you’re prepared for ‘Joanie’, my personal favourite. The mirthless female voice takes the innate joylessness to the next level. The atmosphere of the song is so thick you can cut it with a knife, but this is a modern murder ballad and here the knife cuts itself. Things get particularly ominous when the jangly guitars hit that ‘this is a movie about a cult’ note. The ethereal finale paints a woman staying with her greatest fears, for the children, leaving the goddess of harvest in tears.

The last song, ‘Last Year’, is the odd one out and the keeper of the title of the EP. It leaves us with the rhythm of an unknown pagan ritual and forces of change pushing back and forth. Even when everything falls apart leaving is still hard to do and burning bridges leaves 2nd-degree burns on your coping mechanisms. The positivity of this song redeems this album as a carrier of the music that might heal those. Leave the doors open and give it a spin!

P.S. The number of band members is tolerable, and they don’t sound like people who had piano rooms growing up. Hopefully, they will tell us if they did.

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