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Album Review: Alexandra Savior - Belladonna of Sadness

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I sing songs about whatever the fuck they want”. It’s a strong opening from Alexandra Savior and that lyrical aggression is a hallmark of Belladonna of Sadness, her first album.

Oregon-native Savior is taking a formative step in her musical career, the release of this first album coming as she herself is only 21 years old. 'M.T.M.E.' was her debut single, released June of last year.

The album was produced by Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys fame and the Sheffield front-man has definitely left his mark, a couple of tracks bear distinct similarities to Turner’s own work.

‘Bones’ is the glaring pinnacle of this similarity but Savior’s engaging vocal stylings thankfully avoid the Arctic Monkeys-esque backing becoming unwelcome.

The small insights available into the making of the album suggest that Turner was very closely involved and it’s an album that’s polished from top to toe as a result.

Belladonna of Sadness is an album with an atmosphere of downtrodden, pessimistic confidence running through it.

Savior told Gigwise her music had a “feminist angst horror film feel”.

Sustaining that atmosphere throughout gives it a ‘traditional album’ feel - it’s not a collection of singles haphazardly thrown together. Instead the listener is taken on a slick, undulating and dark journey.

Alexandra Savior’s haunting vocals perfectly partner her music’s assertively sceptical and lyrically driven ambience. Those twin features are perfectly wrapped in the thudding momentum that it seems Turner has offered the album.

'M.T.M.E.' (which stands for ‘music to my ears’,) is the most up-beat Belladonna of Sadness gets and is one of the most immediately appealing tracks.

Opener, 'Mirage', is another real highlight and an effective attention grabbing hook for the rest of the album. It makes a big statement as the opening track of a first album and perfectly exemplifies Savior’s arresting lyrical style.

Alexandra Savior - An Introduction, a video put together by film director Ben Chappell, sheds some light on the making of the album and the small close-knit group that helped to craft it. Savior notably outlines Alex Turner’s importance in driving the album’s realisation.

Belladonna of Sadness is carried along on its own seamless atmospheric momentum. It’s haunting and it’s well worth your time. While there is a break for romance on 'Vanishing Point' and a slight stylistic change-up in the concluding track 'Mystery Girl', which shifts away from the album’s indie rock undertones, the core atmosphere does endure.

It’s appealing from start to finish but it is arguably a little bit short on simple, catchy, memorable highs. Overall though, in her debut album, Savior has crafted an interesting statement of intent as well as very listenable body of work. 

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