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'Be OK'   

-  Label: 'Bella Union'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '3rd March 2017'

Our Rating:
The advantage of naming an all-female singing collective after the notorious 1972 porn movie is that any associations between choirs and organised religion are immediately eradicated.

Linda Lovelace, the reluctant star of that film, has become a symbol of women's strength yet also their vulnerability when confronted by ruthlessly exploitative men. The highlight of this album is a brilliant cover of Björk's Stonemilker which touches on similar themes.

The original is a chilling dissection of a failing relationship, desperately seeking some clarity in a muddied situation. When Bjork sings about needing emotional respect there is a temptation to see hints of paranoia behind her personal pain. This is certainly not the case in the choral version where the line "We have emotional needs" resonates strongly as an expression of a universal right that speaks to and for all women.

The Deep Throat Choir was formed in East London in 2013 by Luisa Gerstein who previously played in the bands Landshapes and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Gerstein wanted to strip the music she loved back to a few basic elements; essentially just voices and drums.

A small group of four or five singers quickly expanded as word got round and led to a what has become ritual gathering of kindred spirits each week in a church in Hackney.

Zara Toppin joined early on as the group’s drummer and co-arranger. Further expertise comes from choirmaster Gareth Malone. Instrumentation is used sparingly so that as little as possible distracts from the massed voices.

This debut album is the culmination of the material they have been performing are various events over the past three years. The title track is one of three original compositions, the other eight tracks are well chosen covers which include versions of songs by Electrelane (In Berlin), Wildbirds and Peacedrums (The Wave), Sylvan Esso (Hey Mami) and Amy Winehouse (In My Bed).

The result is a triumph of girl power.

What might have become a novelty act has evolved into a unique, subversive and affirmative musical force for which the possibilities are endless.

Deep Throat Choir website
  author: Martin Raybould

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