Lesbians on Ecstasy | We Know You Know (Alien8)

Through electro beats, synth add-ins, space age mixes, and liberating lyrics, Lesbians on Ecstasy celebrate decades of womyn's movements and lesbian love.

 

Retaliating against the "lesbian dystopia" of corporate interests and inequality, Lesbians on Ecstasy (LOE) fight back with their sophomore release, We Know You Know. With an arsenal of electro beats, synth add-ins, space age mixes, and liberating lyrics, LOE may not get listeners into the activism seat, but they will get them dancing. Much like Peaches, the Butchies, or Gravy Train, LOE has its own brand of transmission: resurrected 70s feminism and a raucous on the dance floor. Through these songs, LOE celebrate decades of womyn's movements and lesbian love.

"Sisters in the Struggle" is a throwback to the empowerment movements with a hopeful call to activism. The beats are dancy and the lyrics are simplistic and straightforward. LOE choose not to mask anything in this first track and live up to listeners' expectations of feminist sing-a-longs. "The Cold Touch of Leather" sports more celebrations of womyn loving womyn with commands to "sing it loud and long—sisters united in a love that's oh so strong." Again no surprises in depth, but the beauty of LOE's songs are that they don't necessarily have to be deep. That's what makes them accessible to a wide range of audiences. Sure they could mask lyrics like "fashion is for fashion people; get out there now and break the rules" under foggy metaphors, but the goal is inclusion, not exclusion, and it's difficult to incite high-energy riots when only a handful of people understand the lyrics.

Countering the first half of the album's energy, "Is This the Way?" marks a noticeable transition to more spacey, industrial sounds that, with echoing bells and odd chanting, slow the pace so listeners have no surprises when they reach "Alone in the Madness," a pared down piece with Decepticon-like synthing. "It's Practically Freedom" revs up a bit more by pulling in heyday revivalism and blending it with catchy beats that may not make it clubside, but will certainly appeal to listeners. "Mortified" concludes the album with a quiet, yet ballsy series of affirmations—"because we don't give a fuck; throw your mother fuckin' fingers in the air." Sparse and enjoyable.

The packaging is a Dali-esque landscape of feminist icons, lesbian hand-in-handing, pink pyramids, and colliding solar systems. The inner jackets depict the band in all manner of mom jeans, tank tops, and striped sweaters rocking out in Jackie O glasses and pastel headbands. The CD envelope is reminiscent of a miniature vinyl with an accompanying poster that smacks of 70s activist flyers—of course in pink.

Overall, this melodic, hook-driven effort is a pleasure to experience, despite some rather lofty claims of LOE's ability to bridge "the gap between electro and techno punk rock with occasional flirtations with the clamor and thud of industrial music." Occasionally the affirmations can overwhelm, but if taken in small doses, or seen live in concert where the music meets the people, listeners might be able to tap into that voice that, for so many women in '70s, meant something. B+ | James Nokes

RIYL: Peaches, Gravy Train, The Butchies

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