It’s hard to know what to make of Legs’ new EP Dark Rituals, even after multiple listens.
Maybe they’re a group of heartbroken losers, led by the enigmatic and compelling Allie Sheldan, who pours her heart out over slow, sparsely accompanied torch songs like a down-and-out Lana Del Rey (if Del Rey was authentic and dabbled in the occult).
Dark Rituals begins at a glorious snail’s pace with the haunting “Gypsy Woman.” The song slowly builds from ham-fisted organ chords and guitar harmonics that burn like hot embers, before warming into Sheldan’s throaty bellow, as she eventually coaxes and seduces the sleepy instruments into a banging crescendo of knife-edged organ stabs and rollicking drums.
“Fiction” warms the mood of this ice queen’s psyche as keyboard effects wrap around the listener’s ears like a homemade quilt. But this soothing music is just an anesthetic for the punch-to-the-face lyrics such as “I know what I am / Do you know what you are? / You are the one that keeps me faithless.”
Clearly Legs also know how to rock out, as heard on the album’s emotionally cathartic centrepiece, “Killer,” where brothers Michael and Chris Weiss fill the room with buzzing spy-guitar riffs and rollicking drums, and Sheldan taunts the listener with this summer’s hipster anthem, “You don’t need Jesus with a body like that, girl!”
The EP’s first three songs seem to build up to this euphoric release, while the tracks that follow are like the comedown from the high.
This slow race to the end finishes with “There’s a Sadness” where Sheldan sounds so choked up that she might burst into tears at any moment, singing over the most minimalist strums of electric guitar. A weaker personality would sound affected singing something so dramatic—see the Alabama Shakes’ debut—but Sheldan owns it, and with this EP emerges as fully-formed musical force.