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The Exorcist

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Album Review

The Exorcist does the tighten up on Ill Ease's shtick. Whether or not it's at the expectance of her new and larger label, Too Pure, IE maestro Elizabeth Sharp has leashed Live at the Holiday Sin's meandering muse and created her strongest set yet. That doesn't mean she's gone all pop. The same chattering and stilted percussion winds through Exorcist, but it's matched to a series of robust, tensile guitar riffs straight from a '90s indie clip-art book, and a more directly randy lyrical bent. Opener "Jersey-O-Matic" channels the Breeders' "Last Splash" through a chintzy keyboard Cuisinart and a bunch of beguiling "ba-ba-ba"s from Sharp; it will likely surface as the soundtrack to some ridiculously hip fashion show. The tracks for "Winter in Hell" and "The Skank" are more laconic, with loopy basslines trudging along underneath simplistic drum triggers. But Sharp mumbles naughty nothings in our ear like a distracted girlfriend trying to incite jealousy. She sleeps with the boss in "Hell"; "Skank" recounts the details of an after-hours debauchery fest whose lights never reach the street. "18 to party/21 to drink...Crusty old men/And college girls on crank." There's a bit of Peaches in Sharp's delivery and subject matter — there's a similar co-opting of the modern hip-hop obsession with recreational substances and sex inside the urban landscape. "Walking Catastrophe" is potty-mouthed and codependent as clanging guitars steadily overtake its deconstructed rhythmic pluck, while "You Know You Make Me Want to Hate You" manufactures a trashy streetwalking groove. It's Danielson Famile turned out by Jon Spencer. The guitar/drum machine dynamic continues throughout Exorcist, supported occasionally by tinny keys or some of the found noise coloring Ill Ease's previous output, and Sharp's wavering near-whisper remains a curiously addicting amalgam of the sly and the personal. Exorcist is a big-city album for sure. It's arch and haughty enough for the exclusive loft parties, but its homemade feel comforts the lonely would-be sex symbols stuck in narrow uptown efficiencies.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Ill Ease was actually a one-woman band created by Elizabeth Sharp. Sharp was born in Maryland on December 14, 1971. A neurological disorder that caused her brain to read music as pleasure led Sharp to learn several instruments in her teen years. After playing in several bands, she had a memorable stint with New Radiant Storm King as a drummer. She relocated to New York City, shared a practice space with a friend with recording equipment, and started getting notices for her photography. She also began...
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The Exorcist, Ill Ease
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