Black Madonna (self-released)
It’s been two years since we featured Devil Season in these pages, yet much has changed in their world. Back then, frontman Nate Jackson told writer Alex Distefano, “We have a soul influence, but there is no classification to our music. We like hip-hop, funk, R&B and even hardcore punk bands, like Bad Brains, that mix it all together.”
That remains the case. The glorious fun with these guys is in the fact that their sound and style is so tough to nail down. Dynamic and eclectic — dub and punk will collide, before they runoff in an indie rock direction. Then straight up electronic. It’s chill, then wild. It could go anywhere.
However, what was a four piece in 2018 is now a duo. Only Jackson and drummer/keyboardist Ricky Atallah remain, and Black Madonna (produced by Tim Moore of York Studios, Highland Park) is the trimmed down band’s new EP.
The opening title track is immediate proof that the rejigged lineup is working out. It’s a weighty way to kick off an EP — hard-hitting drums framing Jackson’s emotive, smooth wail.
“Pray to Black Madonna, she ain’t scared of no borderline,” Jackson sings, apparently tackling the hypocrisy of religious dogma and bullshit anti-immigration policies in one elegantly succinct line.
“Caves” sounds like ’90s mainstream R&B, until it doesn’t. It takes a dark turn when Jackson sings, “Not gonna be one of those lucky people who feels no pain when they die.”
“Thai Curry Pizza” initially seems like it might be honoring a Long Beach restaurant, but lines like “another Ambien-addled zombie” suggests something deeper and darker as Jackson digs into his own head.
Black Madonna takes us on a gloriously twisted, brain-fucking journey. And hey, we can dance while we self-psychoanalyze.
Devil Season’s Black Madonna is available now, here.