Voluptuous Panic explores emotional, sonic textures on debut EP
BELLINGHAM, Wash. / LOS ANGELES — Combining intense life experiences with atmospheric, layered sounds, Voluptuous Panic is a West Coast-via-Midwest shoegaze band created by The Icicles frontwoman, Gretchen DeVault and music journalist Brian J. Bowe. After releasing a half-dozen singles online over the past three years, the duo is releasing its debut EP, “Une Sorte de Panique Voluptuese.”
This collection of their earliest recordings features a distinct mélange of the Bowe and DeVault’s individual visions. DeVault has previously enjoyed commercial success with indie-popsters The Icicles, while Bowe comes from a more musically aggressive punk background. Drummer Zane DeVault and bassist Niel Carlson rounded out this incarnation of the group, giving the songs a propulsive snap.
“Une Sorte de Panique Voluptueuse” will be available September 13 via iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Soundcloud and other fine online retailers and streaming services everywhere.
Voluptuous Panic began in 2013, when Bowe reached out to DeVault from his tiny apartment in Paris. As DeVault tumbled through postpartum depression in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bowe was spending a year teaching at the Sorbonne and experiencing an existential crisis of his own. Discovering a mutual empathy for their tender emotional states, the two began crafting transoceanic tracks as a sort of therapy. Drawing influence from bands like Yo La Tengo, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins, Voluptuous Panic’s recordings pair emotionally vulnerable lyrics with complex instrumental textures, delicate-yet-loud intensity and DeVault’s melodic dream pop vocals.
The magic of Voluptuous Panic comes from DeVault and Bowe’s remote recording style: each is completely alone when they sit down at the mic. These days, Bowe is based in Bellingham, Washington and DeVault splits her time between Los Angeles and rural northern Michigan. This isolation allows them to give brutally and beautifully honest performances, which shine through in their recordings. This approach also allows Bowe and DeVault to continue collaborating from wherever they find themselves.
“Une sorte de panique voluptueuse” is a phrase that roughly translates to the pleasurable kind of fear that comes from perception-disorienting experiences like roller coasters. The phrase is a fitting moniker for Voluptuous Panic: two anxious artists who push each other into areas of discomfort to touch life’s terrifying beauty. With clear musicianship and emotional savvy, Voluptuous Panic has charged into the world of shoegaze atmospheric dreampop. And they are keeping the momentum going.
released September 8, 2016
Recorded in Paris, France and Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013
Mixed and mastered by Tony Hamera, 2016
Photo of Claire Jouault by Stéphane Horel.