NYC-based pop-rock-punk duo Ridiculous B!tch dropped their self-titled debut EP not long ago. I became aware of the EP because of the concept known as “six degrees of separation,” or just pure happenstance.
The story goes like this: I reviewed alternative/electronic artist Cyvella’s EP, Rich. It turns out that Cyvella, aka Marlain Angelides, knows guitarist/vocalist Karen Xerri, who is one-half of Ridiculous B!tch. The other half is Jimmie Marlowe. To paraphrase The Fixx, “One thing led to another,” and I gave Ridiculous B!tch a listen.
Ridiculous B!tch, the swaggering, glitzy offspring of Xerri and Marlowe, boils elements of alt-pop, pop-punk, glam rock, punk, and pop-rock into visceral sonic meat batters tinged with avant-garde and art-pop spatters.
Both Marlowe and Xerri are classically trained multi-instrumentalists. Up until Ridiculous B!tch, Marlowe swam in the waters of glam-rock, melodic pop-rock, and hard rock, while Xerri immersed herself in pop-rock and electronica. The two cite influences such as Foxy Shazam, Biffy Clyro, Patti Smith, Bowie, Devo, PJ Harvey, Van Morrison, Peaches, Nick Cave, Portishead, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Quite an eclectic array.
Between the two of them, Xerri and Marlow have toured and/or collaborated with a long list of big-name producers and artists, along with performing at elite venues like LA’s Viper Room, Whisky a Go-Go, Irving Plaza, Bowery Ballroom, Rockwood, Pianos, Trash Bar, Southpaw, San Francisco’s Slims and Bimbos365, London’s Barfly, and Vice’s Old Blue Last.
Similar to a lot of music now being released, Ridiculous B!tch was hatched within the pandemic bruhaha as a way to let loose the emotional turmoil of uncertainty, social pique, sorrow, and glimmers of optimism in the middle of widespread Chicken Little Syndrome.
Encompassing seven tracks, the EP begins with “Forget Murder,” opening on a muscular rhythm topped by beefy glam-rock-flavored guitars, throbbing with dark, edgy colors. Xerri’s snarling, riot-grrrl-like voice infuses the lyrics with sybaritic femme fatale textures, at once nasty and serrated.
From a purely subjective viewpoint, highlights include “Blackout,” traveling on sleazy, bluesy hues accented by lysergic shimmers. When the guitar takes on gravelly growling shades, the tune undulates with dangerous energy as Xerri’s yummy, grimacing timbres give the lyrics blistering, rasping luster.
Brimming with pop-punk savors, “Tall Tales” rides a punchy, driving rhythm topped by Xerri’s sassy vocals, ranging from soft and melodic to caustic inflections. “Joker” blends the raw austerity of the White Stripes with the thrumming clout of Lady Gaga, while Xerri’s wicked, deep tones infuse the lyrics with portentous, mysterious tints.
The final track, “Best Face,” rolls out on low-slung, muted gleams of coloration as Xerri’s hushed, delicious voice instills the lyrics with trickling, voluptuous surfaces. Then the guitars mousse up, while glossy layers of synths stream overhead, filling the tune with symphonic, alluring layers of luminous sound.
Skintight, taut with primordial patterns, and gravitational tones, the icing on the cake called Ridiculous B!tch is the bravura voice of Karen Xerri.