The opening track – fragile and damaged, haunted and haunting – is so, so, so good, all lulling, breathy vocals, skittering drums and imprecise synth sounds. But Nektyr, Demen’s debut on Kranky, out Friday, is pretty much downhill from there.
It isn’t that the music oblique that songwriter Irma Orm conjures is flawed. Sometimes, the funereal essence of it all is captivating (“Mea”), if a little light on contextualizing factors. It’s just that these little gothic tidbits are too self-serious for their own good, misera-bliss to the point of self-parody.
If you’re life is all black and doom, there might be room in it for this ethereal little record. It’s far, though, from a masterstroke or a vision.