Welcome to Paradise Lost

Rage Peace

The first thing you hear on Welcome to Paradise Lost is a wobbly electronic tone that dissolves into a jet engine revving up. These few seconds of sonic weirdness resolve into a gently strummed acoustic guitar and Taraka singing something about the heart of darkness and beginning again. That should be enough to tell you this is going to be an excursion into psychic dismorphia.

Taraka Larson says she wrote the songs for Welcome to Paradise Lost while in “solitary confinement” in Texas, living with a serpent. The cloistered environment encouraged her to delve into the dark corners of her mind. When she rejoined the world, she assembled a band to record the new tunes.

The title track is an invitation to the dark underbelly of … something. The song starts with a woman counting, just counting. Taraka then lays into a hyper-driven strum, overlaid with disembodied voices sounding like the Transylvanian party guest in Rocky Horror saying, “welcome.”

To me, songs like “Total Failure” and “Ride or Die” sound like Lene Lovich gone grunge. What do you make of a pop song titled in binary code (“0010110”)? I think it’s playing in the disco in the world of Tron. Welcome to Paradise Lost is filled with weirdly catchy pop songs. It took me a couple spins to get on the same cosmic plane as Taraka, but once I did, I kind of fell in love with her alien pop charms.

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