LibraLibra – Hail Mary EP
Released 14th August 2020
Hail Mary, the SPACE (Idles, Black Futures) produced debut EP from Brighton quartet LibraLibra, opens exactly as the title would suggest, with Hail Mary Part 1, being a theological ray of choral innocence befitting of any church. And yet almost immediately we have a sense that all is not quite as it seems, that something livelier and free is waiting.
At the risk of over-personalising, I can’t help but think of my very bad Catholic ex who used to joke “I don’t so much go to confession as go bragging,” with glam-brash shamelessness. And glam-brash shamelessness is also what we quickly learn defines LibraLibra. As Hail Mary Pt.1 gives way to Lonely Girl, a lipstick-stained showcase of purring synths and frontwoman Beth Cannon’s command of a chorus. Its theme is more fragile than its sound, tacking loneliness in the digital age in a manner almost painfully relevant to the lockdown months. Thus, its clear that that this is a band who has hit upon that holy grail of making raw integrity and pop sensibility perfectly comfortable bedfellows.
Things continue in the same vein while Juicy Lucy takes it up a knotch with its abrasive chorus and buzzsaw garage guitar lines. It is evidence of how wonderfully attention-grabbing much of the EP is, that after just one listen, Lonely Girl and Juicy Lucy remain firmly in my head.
The closing track, Listerine, shows another dimension, a reflective end to an album with showcases Beth’s fantastic vocal capacity with a tenderness that the rest of the EP does not prepare us to expect. The change in tone is all the more effective for what precedes it, a musical equivalent the emotive end of Douglas Coupland’s “Generation X,” or a heart-to-heart at the end of a night of excess.
Rolling in at just over seventeen minutes, by the end of this EP there is a sense that LibraLibra have well and truly arrived and should carve out a strong presence before too long. Above all, they feel necessary. It’s a great time to be a full-throttle cocktail of intention in the music world right now, but LibraLibra do not feel the same as their other incendiary contemporaries, who often have an edge of machismo accompanying the sound. This is a band who smash things up with varnished talons; building a glitter-speckled bruise of a sound. I don’t mean this in a condescending “female-fronted as genre,” way, just in refreshingly colourful way which the female fronted element is a part of – especially with a powerhouse like Beth up front.
The result is fresh, exciting and has just a little hint of the best kind of trashiness. If Hail Mary was a person, its certainly one you’d want one ear pressed to the confession booth of, waiting for the punchline… “one Hail Mary…just say it veeeery slowly!”