In an interview given to AfterDarkMedia, Sinead La Bella, lead vocalist of this four-piece rock/metal group The Courtesans, hailing from all over Europe- Ireland, England, Poland and Holland to be precise- tells us of the interesting way in which she and Saffire Sanchez, Agnes Jones and Victoria Brown came together to make their unique brand of music. “We crossed wires on a galaxy in between space and earth…”. This eccentric response gives us a small insight into what we’re in for when we listen to their debut album, “1917”.
The quartet started a funding campaign on PledgeMusic.com in which they asked for money from fans and music lovers to help get their debut album off the ground.
They succeeded in this regard and released the downloadable version to the people who pledged. They then remixed the album and decided to release their work on C.D.s. It took a while for the final product to be released in August 2014, but when you listen to the eleven tracks that includes a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’, you’ll understand the reasons.
The first single released from the album was ‘Genius’, a slow paced, dark song which alerts the listener to the issues that women are faced with on a daily basis. A simple intro of four bars on the electric guitar leads into the slow, methodically sung lyrics that are sometimes truly haunting. The verse leads into the chorus nicely with a quickening pace of the guitar strum suddenly stopping dead with the instruments quickly starting up again in unison. Although the subject matter is not light, this song gets the heart pumping and the body swaying.
The video highlights the societal expectations placed upon women and how if they break free from the chains and get persecuted for it. This relates to the bands highly sexual image and stage persona and their quest to desexualise sexuality. Lingerie and evocative moves on stage…it’s all up there on YouTube guys and girls!
This sexual feel to the lyrics and band overall is continued in the appropriately named song, ‘Sleaze’. The obviously sexual lyrics come in abundance here with such quotables as, “Ripping off your tights, in my dirty mind”. There’s no such thing as a double-entendre in this song, and that’s what makes it so great. The lyrics, while candid, are things that most people might think or want to say when they’re in that mood. See, I’m not even being clear about what we all know I mean. They wrote a song about it! Also, they included a pretty kick-ass guitar solo.
The Courtesans’ cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’, is the last track and one of the best on the album. The intro is really cool with the drums and descending scales on the guitar intertwining nicely. The chorus also adds a bit of diversity to the song, stopping everything around it and changing the pace and tune of the song. This is different from their own songs. Although it is not a fast-paced song it is a welcome relief to some of the slower songs in the first half of 1917.
My personal favourite track form 1917 was ‘Lullaby’. Compared to the rest of the songs on the album it was a simple effort that held back on the heavy use of the electric guitar and drums but gave the sense that they could join in to greater effect at any moment. There is an almost ominous opening to the song, as if the music is trying to lull you into a false sense of security before it unleashes the aforementioned bar-chords of the electric guitar. Instead, a light tapping from the drums joins the bass and the lead guitar before the vocals join in to make this song the most low-key, but in my opinion, the best of the album.
I really enjoyed this album and the songs that I mentioned in this article really stood out for me and made it what it was: a solid debut from a talented quartet. These songs brought much needed diversity and creativity to the album as overall, the it was a small bit repetitive. However, 1917 helps to set The Courtesans up to showcase their unique brand of lyrics and music and helps to establish the persona of the band, but more importantly, the sound.