Slow The Devil (Deluxe Digital)
Robyn Cage = Florence & The Machine + Lana Del Rey
Robyn Cage is Utah’s resident musical tree sprite, crafting ubiquitously nature-infused songwriting and earthy imagery. Her siren-song style evokes the tempests of the wild in dense, often dark imagery, yet is grounded in an underlying narrative of hope and emergence. Having spent a week in the deserts of Southern Utah in isolation, Cage formulated the conceit of Slow The Devil, an album of juxtaposition. Referencing natural wonders blended with a fraught contemporary political and social climate, Slow The Devil is a tense meditation on the overarching atmosphere of divisiveness that Cage acknowledges is on the homefront.
Slow The Devil opens with the soft and electronic “Dark Day,” a tight two-minute intro with a sonic persona almost too pretty for its title. Cage delves immediately into that implied darkness through “Fallout,” the pseudo-disco-infused “All Smoke, No Fire” and the sweet yet resigning “Nowhere.” The title track drops midway among the 14 tracks, which include three remixes. The corporeal spirit of the album is placed directly in front of the listener in this track, displaying Cage’s call to consciousness in the rancor of the surrounding world. Cage is less than subtle with her implication, yet navigates it rather tactfully. Amid a seemingly interminable pop climate of angsty anthems and socio-political deconstruction, Cage manages to be artful and imaginative in her imagery and lyrical imperative. Slow The Devil wraps with the pretty, shimmering “Dreams For Sale” and the suddenly folksy, “Flying Machine (Acoustic).” The overarching tone of this album is subtly dour and sharp-edged, yet ends with an innocence and optimism that lands without feeling saccharine or inauthentic. Cage properly posits that the listener ought to consider striking balance between suffering and wonder, a call to awareness that her album embodies effectively. –Paige Zuckerman