She-Devils Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 20

She-Devils Casa Del Popolo, Montreal QC, November 20
Photo: Luke Orlando
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Between Majical Cloudz's Devon Welsh touting them as attention-worthy and a sizeable buzz following them in Montreal, She-Devils seemed a sure-fire hit on M for Montreal's Friday night (November 20). In execution, it was a little more complicated than that.

As Kyle Jukka began building a swirling sample and a simple drumbeat at his gear station, singer Audrey Ann started crooning a sweet melody in her rich, but shy, alto. The song itself was likeable, but the Montreal duo haven't been performing as She-Devils long, and it showed. At first, Audrey often seemed unsure of what to do between songs, and during them too, holding her arms rigidly at her side throughout most of the set. The music itself is simple and hypnotic on record — or rather, on their sole recorded song released so far, "Come" — but the duo were having trouble translating that simplicity onstage without it coming across as boring.
 
Like Majical Cloudz themselves, it's the kind of music that requires an uncommonly charismatic singer, one that can beguile the crowd and keep their attention rapt, and Audrey Ann isn't quite there yet. She performed a certain kind of reserved poise at first, but whether it was an intended part of the performance was unclear — until she visibly loosened up by the middle of the set.
 
By the last three or four songs, Audrey Ann was shouting into the mic and jerking to Jukka's droning, clanging loops of deconstructed '50s pop and lounge, and by the time they played  "Come," they were fully committed, with Audrey swaying along emphatically.

Monotony is part of She-Devils' charm; their songs recall a looping, haunted jukebox warbling in the background of dreams and nightmares. And though they've yet to figure out fully how to present that live, they hinted, especially by the squalling, noisy climax of the set's final song — in which Audrey threw a forlorn, commanding look out at the crowd — that they are well on their way.

Now let's hear that EP.