Layne L’Heureux has his tentacles in all sorts of places in the Edmonton indie music scene. Spanning from folk pop to noise punk, including Diehatzu Hijets, his various projects are eclectic to say the least. Banshee is his new experimental psychedelic hell-gaze, post-punk outfit and unlike anything already on L’Heureux’s bio sheet. Banshees are poltergeists capable of belting out frequencies to make your ears bleed until you perish a horrible death. Curious then, that the debut from the Edmonton three piece, elects not to stay true to the mythical aesthetic.
Darker than black, the self-titled album throws verbal delicacy out the window and elects for brutal prose, likened to licking your own swollen, open sores (actual lyrical paraphrase). Jackie Nuc’s vocal rasps permeate the album and are split between weak shouts or tortured bellows. Though on “We Don’t Need You Anymore,” she elects to demonstrate her pipes with clarity and surprising power, even at less than full throttle. More of this would have gone a long way to making the album stick more, as the fuzzy, low-fi guitars offer very little in the way of lift, electing to drone their way through dark chord progressions that sit precariously in the psychedelic death-metal family.
The exception to this is “Woman,” which delicately delivers more of an indie sound with guitar work that jumps from light and airy to a complete wall of fuzz. Nuc doesn’t protest the idea of pitch on this one and delivers another strong performance, worthy of the repeat button. These two songs are the definite highlights. Beyond that, the album makes you feel like you are listening to something more metal than it really is, although I can’t help feel that with a little more fire to the vocals, a band called Banshee would sound truer to its name.