Album Review: Simona Castricum - #Triggerwarning40

Written By Rei Barker on 02/25/2016

Simona

This is the first article in a series that aims to increase visibility of queer/trans/gender-nonbinary or non-conforming artists, individuals, groups and topics within that sphere. I feel that (and I’ll use the broad term queer here) queer music and musicians don’t receive enough press for whatever reason. Thus, I deem more queer media to be a necessity. I don’t have a name for it yet - suggestions are most welcome.

Album number three from Simona Castricum is pointedly different from previous efforts, stylistically diving deep into techno-pop with gorgeous, almost-disco synth lines and assertive, expertly-programmed drums. My first two listens had #triggerwarning40 as background music, affording the chance to enjoy it mostly from an instrumental perspective, with the vocals at the back of the mix, purely existing as melodic accompaniments to the upbeat and in-your-face beats. Engaging with the record on this axis was effortlessly enjoyable - each track has a cohesive yet bold uniqueness to it, with pounding drums and heady synth melody and bass plus a titillating mix of dark and light vibes to tickle the most discerning palate.

The next five listens however, are when the headphones go in to have a closer look at the lyrical content. Touching on themes such as surviving and dealing with trauma, dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder, self harm, and odes to pain that force the listener to engage with human suffering but also appreciate the content in a life-affirming way. I didn’t get a straight-forward narrative from any track, rather thematic and esoteric lyrics that beg for more listens to unravel each verse’s intricate subtext.

#Triggerwarning40 was enjoyable, and I’ll keep listening to it; as well as keep a close eye on Simona’s future releases. She plays an excellent live show too. Check one out when you get the chance.

SHOWS
5 March - RACK OFF! FESTIVAL - The Tote
12-14 March - Gaytimes Festival - Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
23 March - Pillow Pro Residency - The Tote
3 April - Transgenre - Howler