In this world you don’t always get what you pay for, or what you expect. Sometimes, though, free things come along and leave you wondering what you did to deserve such fortune. The risk of inviting submissions to this site was, I always felt, that you never know who’s going to turn up. Like holding a party for friends of friends of friends only, you’re at the mercy of chance and happenstance. Inevitably, this leads to a certain amount of filtering, and quietly laying to one side music that you really just don’t quite know how to form a useful opinion on.
The obvious upside is that from time to time you find yourself listening to the kind of blisteringly brilliant debut EP that makes you shout a silent “YES!” while simultaneously trying to figure out how it is that the world hasn’t already discovered it.
Heart Full of Beef is the debut from Daisy Victoria. On its five tracks of poetic post-punk, rough, abrasive guitars mix with occasional moments of unannounced beauty. Every now and then a lyric cuts through the mix and makes you want to go back and check you heard right. I’ll just leave the opening lines of the title track, and first track on the EP here, and let you discover the rest:
the blue hubbard is playing mother
and squashing my face to the wall
the pumpkin is put out but the juices are flowing
and my mind is a mirror ball
Second track Macbeth to my Lady is the EP’s melodic high point and most obvious entry-point for commercial success. Not that there’s much commercial about lyrics like where did you find a tongue so grotesque and persuasive?, but propelled along on lo-fi guitars and a hint of Siouxsieness it’s no surprise to find it drawing acclaim.
However, with a few more listens under the belt, it’s Cloth that reveals itself as the true standout track (which is saying something in this company). It performs the classic magic trick of opening out from raw to silky smooth and back again without you quite realising until you’re right in the middle of it, and its seductive tendrils are wrapping themselves all around, and you have no choice but to give yourself over to its twisted beauty. It would be high class dream pop if it weren’t so very, very dark.
By the standard set so far the first few seconds of The Secret Garden Path might have you fooled into thinking this is where it gets a bit more comfortable and straightforward, but, of course, all is not so simple (and that where am I going? bassline should have been a clue from the start, frankly). The sound might be cleaner here than on the other tracks, but the mood is no less sinister, the chorus melody no less beguiling.
The EP closes with Tree: more beauty, more fireworks, and a stunning vocal delivery. It marks an atmospheric end to a hugely impressive release.
Daisy Victoria has already caught the ear of the BBC Introducing team, and will be appearing at this year’s Latitude Festival, performing on The Lake Stage on the last day of the festival. By this time next year, expect a bigger stage and a higher billing.
Heart Full of Beef is available now from Bandcamp (name your price) or Soundcloud (free download).