I say these things I say
To maintain
A purpose for the pain

Portland’s Princess Ugly is comprised of the duo of J. Christopher-Rome (lyrics/vocals) and Christopher Moncrieffe (music/instruments). Their intense, hypnotic single, “An Individual Soul” (with Cat Hoffmann on backing vocals), weaves together dark alternative and shoegaze elements in its sound, bringing to mind Love and Rockets and Slowdive. Christopher-Rome’s snarling whisper carries the otherwise psychedelic-tinged guitars into the underworld of gothic flair.

While their sound is not exactly raucous, theirs is the energy of lava gaining pressure to bust through the earth’s crust; the preamble to an underwater earthquake; the calm before a tornado touches ground. “An Individual Soul” is uneasy, sinister, and bursting with cynicism in its lyrics.

Initially, in its instrumental form, the song was to be called “Surrounded”, and Christopher-Rome drew inspiration from that word, reflecting “a hodgepodge of paranoias, aliens, cryptids, crisis of self, and the illusion of individuality in an overstimulated yet desensitized society.”

Moncrieffe went on to describe the creation of the song, poetically likening it to a full-blown ritual: “Coming out of semi-consciousness, I poured a handful of active ingredients into a cauldron, brewing a sonic elixir that watered the seedling, pouring life into a new evolutionary branch of Princess Ugly’s sound, evoking raucous timbres and visions, culling the syncopations of fire and dance into this energetic and at the same time lethargic piece.”

The silent movie-inspired video, directed by Cat Powell-Hoffmann and J. Christopher-Rom, stars Julia Townsend. A gothic woman wanders in nature, gathering up symbols representing her personality; destroying them, scattering them to the four winds, and morphing into something new. It is a beautiful visual metaphor for the evolution – or devolution – of spirit.

Watch the video below:

An Individual Soul was recorded and mixed by Princess Ugly at Drop Dead Ugly Studio in Portland, Oregon, and mastered by Kevin Nettleingham at Nettleingham Audio in Vancouver, Washington.

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