The Ire - Demo (Cover Artwork)

The Ire

Demo (2019)


A lot of what is appealing about Demo on first blush is how well it gets the details right. Close your eyes and you'd be convinced that this five-song EP from these Philadelphia newcomers was, in fact, some uncovered also-rans from the mid-80s goth-mod, new-wave movement.

What really sells it, at least for me, is the hand-clap-ass, clipped-to-shit snare drum song that comes cracking across the opening moments of "Derelict" and doesn't let up until the album ends. There are rolls, fills, crashes, and so forth, but for the roughly 20 minutes you’re spending with The Ire, you’re living with that snare. You may prefer the queasy reverb of the clean guitar tone ("Torch Song" has this in spades) or the dramatics of the singing (dig the three-minute-mark of "To Sleep-") but you'll find something that confirms the notion that the band has done its homework.

Honestly, some note-perfect 80s darkwave would probably be enough to drive a positive review, but the icing on the cake here singer Maya Brooks' vocal performance, theatricality aside. Take, for example, the EP's closing song "Katabasis;" it's a relatively straightforward arrangement that Brooks turns into an earworm with her bouncing vocal melody. Brooks takes the songs from landscapes and turns them into portraits, using her voice as the driving instrument of the band's songs. Same goes for "Torch Song," which is about as close as this dark rock band comes to something approaching an anthem.

Elsewhere, the guitars are dexterous enough to convey the foggy, ethereal vibe the EP sustains throughout its brief run time. The bass lines have the quality of all the great bass lines through history, grounding songs and providing power from the bottom without ever stealing the show (I especially like jumpy up-and-down register that happens on "To Sleep-"). Demo is a, uh, demo, so all the usual caveats about sound quality apply, but that goes toward the moody-goth goals of the album. Demo also does what all great demos hope to do: establish The Ire as a band to watch.