It gets you thinking, and that’s a happy ending in itself, if you look at in the right light, with the right frame of mind.
Photo: Lou Smith | Words: Ingrid Marie Jensen
Self-described “goth pop” outfit White Devil Disco formed in the summer of 2021. Fronted by Scarlett Woolfe and Joe Pancucci, (formerly the bassist of les enfants terribles Fat White Family) the band quickly became playbill regulars at the Windmill Brixton, and their first single, ‘Dog,’ was released earlier this year. White Devil Disco describe their sound as “sleazy,” fusing “grinding bass tones, infectious hooks, atmospheric synths and electronic noise textures whilst a vocal interplay of gravelly baritone and high keening female backing cuts deep through the mix…”
The band’s latest single, ‘Trouble,’ debuted on October 7th. It was released alongside a video, shot on location in Margate by South London’s rock n’ roll documentarian-in-chief Lou Smith and produced by Lev Parker. ‘Trouble,’ kicks off slowly, laced through with a heavy, steady bass throb and slick, elegant, guitar riffs. Scarlett’s vocals are at once breathy and intensely soulful, and her tense, fiery, stage presence plays wonderfully off of Joe’s gravelly deep voice and ominous Lone Ranger leer.
The opening shot of the video shows Joe leaving the police station, but hints that he’ll soon be back inside -ensuing scenes show him hassling Scarlett and shoplifting, while Scarlett plumbs the depths of the internet for tips on finding true love and flips through Consciousness and Choice. The lyrics pose a not-so-subtle warning that finding a soulmate can set more than just your heart on fire. The incendiary truth is that sometimes, it’s total self-immolation. (“I’ll show you trouble, baby,” the duo drawl to each other, and it’s easy to believe.)
Despite the undeniably English locale of Margate, there’s an undercurrent of Americana; Joe clad in head-to-toe denim, both Scarlett and Joe in cowboy hats, looking rebelliously misplaced, like they took a wrong turn on their way to a rodeo. Maybe it’s not so much a nod to Americana as to rebellious living in general. (The band stated that the “absurdist,” video was inspired by Paul Sykes, with various scenes throughout a homage to the British boxer-writer-convict’s notoriously tumultuous life.) Speaking of boxers, there’s a subtle nod to American boxing champ Joe Louis halfway through. It’s a detail that comes straight out of left field, but then Joe Louis was infamous for his lights-out left hook. White Devil Disco can be likened to that; the band’s sound is a hard left hook straight out of left field and into the ears of their listeners.
Meanwhile ‘Trouble’, churns on. After a fight with Joe, Scarlett storms out of the flat to wander the streets (taking a Nietzsche paperback with her.) There’s a deeper truth at the heart of ‘Trouble’, and it’s that a partner in crime can be just that – a partner in crime. Alas, and goddamn! But it gets you thinking, and that’s a happy ending in itself, if you look at in the right light, with the right frame of mind.
White Devil Disco headline Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney on Oct 29th.