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Album Review: Rebel Yell - Fall From Grace

8 July 2020 | 1:39 pm | Cyclone Wehner

"'Fall From Grace' offers psychic release in its relentlessness."

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The electronic dance creative Rebel Yell (aka Grace Stevenson) has established a cred profile since 2018's debut, Hired Muscle – even DJing at Splendour In The Grass. But the Queenslander (now in Sydney) has remained on the mainstream's periphery – being too uncompromising to be pop, and too subversive to be purist techno. Stevenson's second album, Fall From Grace, isn't about concessions. She's defiantly subcultural. 

Stevenson's industrial techno falls somewhere between (Miss) Kittin & The Hacker and Ade Fenton. It's music bound for sweaty Boiler Room sets – clamorous, caustic and dense. Yet Stevenson's lyrics and thematic concerns transcend any mere hedonistic purpose. She gravitates to concepts (here, loosely, contrast and contradiction), makes empowering statements, and projects a persona over anonymity. Indeed, Fall From Grace is described in her own press materials as "club music for the overthinker". 

Stevenson largely handles the vocals herself – favouring a warped, monotone spoken word. Still, she does collaborate. The LP opener Incredible Heat, virtually an installation piece, features US performance artist (and PC Music associate) Hayden Dunham. Pump has Collarbones' Marcus Whale sounding like Green Velvet fronting The Prodigy.

Stevenson pursues expression and energy over "songs" – Fall From Grace is an experience rather than an album. However, the clever lead single, Anti Club Music (with R-T-FAX), a missive at clubdom's toxic masculinity, is a stealth electro-punk anthem, evoking Chicks On Speed. There are no sonic intervals, though Saving Grace juxtaposes thudding techno with ambient synths. Fall From Grace offers psychic release in its relentlessness.