The world needs Selene Vigil right now. It needs the woman who spit fire on songs like “Dead Men Don’t Rape,” while fronting 7 Year Bitch, to be a voice in modern culture. When every newsfeed refresh peels away another layer of the blankets of silence that have buried survivors of sexual abuse for decades, a volatile voice like Selene Vigil can either be a beacon of hope, a solace for anger, or a release of rage – depending on the day. At the very least, she’s a source for some much needed kickass music.
With Tough Dance, her first solo album, she infests a pure Rock record with the same personal venom that made 7 Year Bitch so much more than just another Riot Grrl act. “My Nightmare” taps into that old boiling rage, only with a newfound patience and maturity that isn’t afraid to let the pot simmer before boiling over. “Sha La La” kicks in with Vigil’s unique vocal approach that falls somewhere in between singing, speaking, and scolding, and evolves into a chorus that playfully calls to mind a girl group harmony. But don’t pull out your Mom’s poodle skirts just yet, “Down in Flames” goes from the sockhop right into the gutter. It’s grungy, dirty and sultry in a way few can master, but Vigil masters it well. Closing things out is “Soul in Traction,” a slinky, desert acid trip piano ballad that feels like some kind of soulful reckoning.
The long awaited release is a quick one (only 6 songs), but serves as a proper reintroduction to one of the most exciting, and underrated, musicians of the ’90s.