There’s a fairly widely-acknowledged marketing principle that if you use a picture of a hot girl in your promotional material, it will get noticed. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago upon seeing an eyecatching poster for Kyla La Grange who was to play at the Boileroom tonight.
Until ten days ago, I had never heard of this girl, and now I’m standing here in my Sesame Street Count t-shirt (I thought the vampire connection would be funny, but no one seems to have agreed, or noticed as yet), happily paying to extend my already-14-hour day on the strength of just one song.
I latched on to Vampire Smile because I love the imagery and darkness of the lyrics. The opening lines: “Baby you need to leave ’cause I’m getting drunk on your noble deeds. It doesn’t matter that they don’t get done, when I feel this cold they’re like the fucking sun” very quickly throw you for a loop.
That is because Kyla herself is quite diminutive, and unassumingly pretty in a clean-cut sort of way that doesn’t lead one to associate her with vampiric tendencies, before costume at least. In fact she looks younger than she is and that contributes positively to the angsty, almost-teenage image, simultaneously belied by the much more mature, unusual, bewitched scenes that this song evokes. T-shirt aside, I’m stood here taking her music very seriously. There’s nothing really tongue-in-cheek about the emotions she puts on show.
Unsettled by the mundanity of a tried & tested chord progression that grabs your attention only with its unusual first line, I found myself insatiably baited by the blood love (“I’m a vampire smile, you’ll meet a sticky end, and here I’m trying not to bite your neck, but it’s beautiful and I’m gunna get so drunk on you and kill your friends.”) and vulnerability (“I’m a paper doll, you can tear me up, we’ll be the broken lovers with the poisoned cup”) combination that makes this song very… fantastical, and wonderfully gothic.
Young, Watford-based La Grange (Grange as in Grange Hill, not, upsettingly, “Gronge” as in a French barn) proved two things to me today:
- I am a victim of the commercial machine.
- The reason that I have picked up on a lot of young, British, female singer-songwriters recently is probably that most of them are beautifully macabre and deftly troubled people (a persona that I love).
- And also because I am eligible, and utterly open to the idea of having blood sucked from my neck.