Rebel Yell. Another honest heart on the edge of popular sound. She – Grace Stevenson - makes dance music. At times it’s caustic, laced with a serrated edge. At others powered by hypnotic groove.
Stevenson might hail from Brisbane, but every city holds dark corners. This music carries a sense of isolation swirling between hot sweats and quiet rage. But ultimately, it’s about release. There’s a catching edge of something empowering.
Hired Muscle carries flashes of lyrical truth. ‘Toxic’ turns out some surprisingly pointed thought. Accompanied by pulse-pounding bottom end they’re delivered at industrial strength.
‘Stains’ carries political tone. Within her music and at large Stevenson is not beholden to faceless clichés of electronic sound. Both sonics and lyric hold their own visceral charge.
Numbers ‘Next Exit’, ‘Human Transaction’ and leading single ‘Pressure Drop’ pulse ahead, body movers of the highest order. Powering into the subliminal mind and deeper below. ‘Let Go’ courses upon its synthetic textures. There’s guest vocals courtesy of Pillow Pro – likewise, Gussy takes lead on ‘Stains’ -but Grace seems to be finding increasing confidence in her own.
‘Higher Authority’ bucks against the powers that be. These words won’t be constrained. Wherever the despotic and oppressive creeps there’s artists to answer these ills with messages of resistance and roaring blares of destructive noise.
Rebel Yell’s debut is something completely its own. These sonics break themselves upon the head of popular taste. Vital edge and new ideas.
What many find in Rebel Yell past a solid groove, is an idea of agency. Values firmly DIY, Stevenson continues to establish her reputation in Australian music as both an artist and a figure who’s ready to step up and help others on the margins find voices of their own. With a record like Hired Muscle backing this all up and any successes come well deserved.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald