Demander will always and forever be lumped together with bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, and Bratmobile even though they are not a riot grrrl band. Demander isn’t political (content wise they don’t stray far from the topic of love), they aren’t asking for “revolution girl style now” but Demander will be associated with the aforementioned bands because there happens to be two chicks in the band. We don’t link all-males bands into similar categories because they consist of all men but any band with prominent females will be labeled as riot grrrl because they include girls. It’s really unfair but rock `n’ roll is a boys club and probably always will be. This doesn’t seem to phase Demander.
While they are still grounded in a punk aesthetic, Demander have an almost math-rock feel to them due to their killer rhythm section. Bassist/singer Karen Correa and drummer Sivan Harlap aren’t afraid to get complicated and from the beginning of the E.P. to the end, Correa and Harlap hit you over the head with their raw power. I can’t sing Harlap’s praises enough. She’s fantastic. You’d be hard pressed to find a drummer, male or female, who could match her work on “Porte Cochere.” If Meg White ever heard Harlap play, afterwards she would be ashamed to even look at her drumsticks. Under her human skin, I’m completely convinced that Harlap is actually Animal from the Muppets. “WWWOOOMMMMAAANNN!!!”
Demander’s well deserved reliance on their stellar rhythm section and guitarist Jared Scott’s insistence on keeping his guitar low and fuzzy gives the band an almost dark feeling. A viola even pops up at the beginning of “samthurman.” It’s a different direction from Correa and Harlap, leaving behind the sounds of their decidedly lighter former band, the Hissyfits. Despite this darkness, Demander still has poppy core. When Correa double-tracks her voice on “Raise a Glass (Redux),” Demander comes off as sounding like the Bangs if they were way more into Bauhaus than the Ramones.
Rhythmically, Demander’s got everything covered but vocally, it’s another story. Correa is not bad by any stretch of the word, when she understands her limits. She doesn’t have a great voice and sometimes she pushes it too far and comes off as flat. On “Porte Cochere,” the band does their best Sleater-Kinney impression but Correa doesn’t have anywhere near the power of Corin Tucker and she just sounds off. But on “Elijah,” a song that opens the desperate desire for make-up sex and the E.P.’s highlight, Correa has everything under control. Her deep voice purrs “Elijah, why do we still fight? / Turn off the light, turn off the light,” and it’s hard to believe he doesn’t accommodate her request.
Excuse 17 – Such Friends Are Dangerous
The Bangs – Tiger Beat
Sarge – The Glass Intact