Drahla: Useless Coordinates
Leeds-formed Drahla have defined their own vital subset of art-rock with Useless Coordinates, a debut album that's as fearless as it is enthralling.
Speaking from her current base in south-east London with bassist Rob Riggs, singer/guitarist Luciel Brown recounts the record’s somewhat chaotic gestation. "Most of last year was spent touring, so we were squeezing writing and recording in from the beginning of 2018 until end of August." In-between a headline tour, support slots with Ought and METZ, and multiple festival appearances - including at Meltdown at the request of The Cure's Robert Smith - Brown, Riggs and Wakefield-based drummer Mike Ainsley managed 10 days in the studio in total.
It was the unsettled nature of the period that part-inspired the album's title. "[Useless Coordinates] summarised all of our situations," Brown explains. Brown's interests lie in looking beyond the immediate to the abstract and indefinable. Her lyrics are developed from observations, notes and poems, and the fragmented imagery is spliced together to disorientating effect. On Gilded Cloud elegant snapshots from the golden age of Hollywood are juxtaposed with abrasive guitar textures, Pyramid Estate draws parallels between Ancient Egypt and the present day, and Serenity evokes the violent energy of a Francis Bacon painting. Beneath the abstraction are a diverse array of themes, including gender fluidity (Invisible Sex), city living (Primitive Rhythm) and artistic expression (Unwound).