Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster

A debut that makes you stop in your tracks...

Welcome in to Static Dress’ sharp, hazy world. After a series of genre-defying singles and a bold EP, Static Dress’ debut goes above and beyond; ‘Rouge Carpet Disaster’ is a screech of creative liberation, every track more texturally rich and lyrically profound than the last. This is an album that breathes down your neck, forcing you to take a step closer and peek behind the curtains. It’s bold, assured and drowning in theatricality – and it’s an absolute delight.

Seamlessly transitioning on from the end of the band’s ‘Prologue…’ EP, the opening howls of ‘fleahouse’ immediately remind us of the world that we’re diving into. And, for those unacquainted with these characters, the track wastes no time setting the scene – lyrics unfold like a screenplay, rooting you in the world of glitz, glamour and deceit.

‘fleahouse’ flawlessly asserts the tone of ‘Rouge Carpet Disaster’; Static Dress have crafted a world of porcelain façades, everything fractured and a second way from crumbling. Conflicting soundscapes throughout emphasise this ongoing tension between appearance and reality – tracks like ‘sweet.’ serve up catchy choruses while clashing with guttural, distorted segments. Perhaps the most sharply contrasting and affecting track is ‘Di-sinTer’, with its scratchy, piercing breakdowns sitting alongside bewilderingly dreamy moments of bliss. Its asphyxiating structuring aims to reflect the dreamy disassociation one might cling on to escape the reality of being buried alive.

Sonically, ‘Rouge Carpet Disaster’ feels like an exposed nerve. The sharp transitions between light and heavy soundscapes makes for an incredibly overwhelming listen – tracks lure you in calmly before tearing the ground from beneath you. Moving from the visceral, spine tingling rumble of ‘Courtney, just relax’, into the gentle, shoegaze-y introspection of ‘Attempt 8’ feels like whiplash, leaving you vulnerable and uncertain as to what to expect.

Lyrically, Static Dress also manage to capture emotion in its rawest form. Poetics are fragmented yet precise, abstract imagery perfectly selected to arouse intrigue. ‘sweet.’ easily sinks you into the flow of ‘callous conversation balanced on a knife’ between two lovers, while the breathless cries of ‘choke, gasp, die, relapse’ in ‘Lye solution’ imprison you, and even ‘Di-sinTer’s guttural howls of ‘contort, bend, scratch’ plunge you six feet under, immersing you in the act of clawing your way out of the ground. Olli Appleyard’s command of language entirely explains why Static Dress have so often been compared to the emo greats – his words are pure poetry.

The attachment of the label ‘emo’ does not mean that their sound is restrictive, however – if anything, emo hasn’t had one distinctive sound for years. The label of emo merely links to that glorious ability to world-build, and to piece together lyrics that feel intimately gut-wrenching. Static Dress’ sonic textures are impossible to put a label on with certainty, boldly crafting their own sound from elements of metalgaze and post-hardcore. There’s no guarantee what a track will offer up – from ‘Welcome In’s vibrant, infectiously circle-pit-ready punk, to the ineffable beauty of the butterflies-in-your-tummy melancholy of ‘Marisol’, Static Dress are impossible to pin down.

‘Rouge Carpet Disaster’ exists in a realm of its own. Ambition is carved into every track, from the grand lyricisms to the bold sonic shifts to the painfully exposed vocal performance. There’s a sense of authentic intimacy carved into every track, yet every detail feels remarkably considered. It’s a debut that makes you stop in your tracks and hints at glorious things to come.


Words: Emily Swingle

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