For this writer, one of the revelations of this turbulent year has been the haunting beauty of Kira McSpice’s utterly unique strain of dark ambient-tinged gothic folk. When we last spoke to the Boston-based singer-songwriter, McSpice was halfway through an album tetralogy based around the four stages of a migraine. In that interview, she told us that the third stage, Attack, would be “louder and heavier”, and god was she right.
Attack maintains the unsettling aura of McSpice’s past works but largely removes the serene, languid way in which her compositions would unfurl gradually, instead diving headfirst into unearthly screams and agonising noise. This time the songwriter is joined by guitarist Will Ponturo, also of Wiles, and drummer Jack Whelan, also of Non-. These additions allow McSpice to more accurately depict the migraine’s most intense and excruciating phase, and together the trio do so with aplomb. Instead of striving for metallic riffs or frenzied percussive rhythms, these additional instruments largely seek to mimic a very real assault on the senses. The drums lurch forward like a throbbing pain that won’t relent, whilst the guitars either pummell mercilessly or screech excruciatingly. At the end of it all, ‘Womb’ offers some much-needed respite, perhaps revealing what’s in store for stage four – Postdrome.
“Attack was written during the month of August this year with Will and Jack,” McSpice reveals. “It was recorded in three nights in a dusty warehouse by Miranda Serra G. We would start recording once it got dark and go until the sun had risen. It was intense and we were all very exhausted by the end of it. I wanted the process to suit the record. Attack is the third record of my series, “The Migraine In 4 Parts” and it is supposed to be the heaviest and most intense phase. Although this record is very different, it still connects to the other records written before it in terms of lyrics and subject matter. In the last song, ‘Womb’, I sing lyrics from ‘000’ – a song from the first phase, Prodrome. These albums are meant to connect but this one was intended to stick out among them.”
Attack is out now. Order here.
Words: George Parr