Pumarosa: Devastation review – brooding turbo-anguish | Music

Pumarosa have long called their sound “industrial spiritual”, but the London band’s second album takes it to a bracing new level, as they sack off the indie guitars of their 2017 debut The Witch and embrace obsidian synths. Its title might suggest despair but this is an album about overcoming, and of frontwoman Isabel Muñoz-Newsome confronting desire and her sexuality following her recovery from cervical cancer. It’s not bleak, it’s rather sensual, while musically there is a jagged line between the recent Sleater-Kinney album, its producer St Vincent and Vincent’s usual studio whiz, John Congleton, who is – stay with me – also on Devastation duties.

And so, Fall Apart and Adam’s Song reach for drum’n’bass (echoes of Pendulum; Portishead), heady trance-pop and squelchy acid on Heaven (echoes of Smalltown Boy), while Lose Control, a galloping goth-pop song and easily their best, shows they’ve got the choruses if they want them (echoes of U2). For some, Pumarosa’s brand of brooding turbo-anguish went out with PVC trousers, but even though the tortured lyrics can feel a little cloying, Devastation is proof that it’s not just Trent Reznor who can play sexy machine-rave and sing about shagging.

Watch the video for Fall Apart by Pumarosa.

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