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First Play: She-Devils, self-titled

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Andrea Gin

Montreal band She-Devils had only been officially a band for a couple of months before they decided to start playing live. The duo, made up of vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher and soundscape artist Kyle Jukka, met while living in a communal rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighborhood of Montreal. While they were new to each other, Boucher was also completly new to making music, so the pair honed their live show and skills for eight months before braving the studio.

“Playing shows forced us to connect musically with each other and to connect with the world around us,” Boucher explains, via email. “So what really happened is that we just started playing shows right away, the songs weren't fleshed out yet and they kept on evolving with every show. It was also a great excuse for me to form a relationship with my voice, since I didn't have any history of singing prior to starting the project.”

As you listen to She-Devils' debut LP, the depth of Boucher's natural talent is astonishing. Her voice is mesmerizing; it sounds like she was meant to be a vocalist her whole life. In some ways, maybe she was.

”On an emotional level, I've always felt the desire to express myself this way," Boucher says. "I was just waiting for the right opportunity and the right time to do it. At some point I had so many feelings, and I kept accumulating inspiration and I was ripe. It happened so fast, like pulling a golden thread.”

Their self-titled debut sounds like infinte dreams from a dizzying assortment of minds. The music is hypnotic. Boucher’s lush but dispassionate vocals float over a looping kaleidoscope of '60s yé-yé, surf-rock and warped art-pop. It feels like it could be the soundtrack to a vintage technicolour horror film.

The cinematic influences make sense: both band members are keenly interested in the band’s visual presence. Boucher creates all of the band’s artwork, and the two direct their own videos, creating a vivid, evocative world that is entirely their own.

“The way we see it is that we are artists before being musicians,” she says. “Music is the centrepiece of this project but the visual art is something that I feel a strong need to express as well. I don't think that anyone else can better express the visual aesthetic of this project than us.”

The band releases She-Devils today via Arbutus Records, and you can listen to it right here for a week. Also, you can catch them on tour this summer with dates in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.