Carving out a commendable niche for herself under the “Gothy R&B” banner, Californian singer-songwriter Wolfe has graduated from Casio tone tinkering to full-blown Siouxsie & The Banshees territory here, with treated strings, echoing drums and lashings of reverb surrounding her double-tracked, crushed velvet voice. Unlike much of the album it’s taken from, We Hit A Wall proceeds at a pace approaching funereal, a stately ballad to punctuate a set largely embellished with synthetic industrial beats and glitch. There’s definitely a clue in the album title: Pain Is Beauty. We’re in tortured territory here.
Which is not to dismiss her propensity to lounge moodily in an electronic sound-bed; shorn of her laptop smarts Chelsea Wolfe might risk tipping into All About Eve territory, a big voice battling an overblown musical backdrop. Instead, she stays just the right side of sad-eyed sincerity. We Hit The Wall is doomed and beautiful, the perfect soundtrack to a thousand teenage flounces and undeniably stirring at any age.
Chelsea Wolfe’s album, Pain Is Beauty is out on Sargent House on September 2.