Set to release her first solo album in October, former Prince Rama front-woman Taraka has now shared the advance single from her debut. ‘Psychocastle‘ was released last week and, if it’s any indication of things to come, the upcoming album – Welcome to Paradise Lost – promises a grunge laden, visceral departure from the psych-dance stylings of Prince Rama.
Welcome to Paradise Lost was conceived by Taraka whilst she was attempting a return to a pre-internet Eden by living in solitary confinement in a hot Texas gallery with a live serpent. ‘Psychocastle’ certainly sounds like someone struggling with their own company in an overheated space. Lyrics swing from love to hate in the same breath, moaning guitar hooks wail over a distorted vocal. The overall effect is deliciously uncomfortable, a sort of Courtney Love/Hole for the post-pandemic generation – those same grunge sensibilities, but with less earwig chorus hooks and more sprinkles of inertia, confusion, distress and stasis.
An accompanying music video (directed by Matthew Hoffman and Taraka and shot on 8mm) juxtaposes brutalist tumbledown city apartment blocks with salubrious, bucolic scenery. Taraka is pictured against both landscapes predominantly attached to a bed that she seems doomed to take everywhere with her. The aesthetics hark back to the old saying “you made your, bed you lie in it” (used memorably by Love as part of ‘Miss World’), and perhaps allude to feminist politics – in particular Emma Sulkowicz’ performance art piece ‘Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight)’. Taraka plays with ideas of reality and escape with a colourful, quirky charisma as she is filmed in a leotard depicting internal organs, muscles and skeletal structure whilst a bloodied tampon swings joyfully between her legs – a powerfully arresting image.
To quote from the artist directly: “Ever try to consult your inner self, but inside your skin is merely a rotting corpse? Ever feel like every path you take is just another mobius strip leading you back to where you first began? Congratulations, welcome to the Psychocastle.”
‘Psychocastle’ is out now, and is taken from Taraka’s debut album Welcome to Paradise Lost – due out 8th October via her label Rage Peace.
Photo Credit: Matthew Hoffman