Katie Dey and Devi McCallion might live on opposite sides of the world, but thanks to the power of the internet that hasn’t stopped them from working together. Today, they’re releasing their first collaborative album, Some New Form Of Life. Dey is the Australian experimentalist whose 2016 album, Flood Network, made our best-of list the year it came out; McCallion, who once recorded as Girls Rituals, is one-half of the Toronto duo Black Dresses and now has a new project called Dei Genetrix.
On their own, each one’s music deals with technology and sublimation and breaking down barriers, and such a globally intimate collaboration makes a lot of sense. Their music tends to tread the line between beautiful and ugly, abrasive and soothing, and together they make pop music that’s densely textured and sharp. McCallion’s tendency towards the brash and bratty is tempered out by Dey’s more stylistically formal strings and plinking piano keys and atmospheric sonics, while Dey’s side of the equation gets an adrenaline rush from McCallion’s energy.
Early standout “No One’s In Control,” which also has a music video to go along with it, finds the two of them trading verses on opposite ends of a chorus that melts with an undesired lack of agency. Penultimate banger “Be Cool” builds and burbles slowly, but it eventually reaches a revelatory fever pitch — “I will feel no shame/ We will feel no shame in the new world” — that echoes some of SOPHIE’s pleas from earlier this year for an easier existence.
There are tracks that bear one artist’s fingerprints more than the other’s — like McCallion’s feverish “Labyrinth” or Dey’s lush “Rainforest” — but mostly the album acts as a deft balancing act, blending each other’s styles with an appealing complexity.
Listen to it below.
Some New Form of Life is out now.