Released February 2015.
Divisive represents both a departure and a return for Vancouver-based artist maQLu [aka Pyra Draculea].
A departure in the sense that she is perhaps best known for experimental noise and industrial electronics, while this album finds her using more traditional song structures and rock sounds to achieve her ends, with the exception of album closer “Persona Non Grata.”
Yet it’s a return in the sense that Pyra’s musical roots are in the snarling Sunset Strip hard rock sounds of the late 1980s, so Divisive finds her closer than ever to the punk, rock, and metal sounds she originally envisioned making way back when she first got the notion of pissing away her life on creative endeavors instead of doing something useful like becoming a doctor.
Why the change? Well, throughout 2012 and 2013, Pyra grew increasingly frustrated with the world of electronica and industrial and the limitations of the genre, and after a near-death incident on the waters of Sechelt Inlet in July of 2013, she decided to take a little hiatus, get back in touch with her musical roots in bluesy hard rock, and retired her synths to gig bags under her bed and in her closet in favor of taking up guitar. After a couple months, she returned to a collection of old songs she had that had never quite wanted to be finished and started attacking them with new ideas and fervor. And thus Divisive slowly congealed out of the old wreckage, finally reaching completion in late 2014.
Despite turning more towards rock, the electronics are never far from the surface and the end result is more of a fusion between hard rock, punk, and electronics.
Lyrically, Divisive finds maQLu as sunny and optimistic as ever—just kidding, this one’s as creepy, destructive, and vicious as any previous maQLu album and then some. Whether it’s attacking the shallow narcissism and short-term thinking of your typical Vancouverite on “Whip the Dogs” or rudely dismissing the more PC proclamations and hypocrisy of her so-called scenemates in “I’d Rather Be Gone” or mocking music industry dinosaurs in “When You Were Younger,” maQLu is less afraid than ever to bite the hand that feeds her and spit in the faces of those who get in her way.
maQLu’s newer tracks have drawn comparisons to Public Image Ltd., Puscifer, Captain Beefheart, and NoMeansNo. The older material, which has charted all across Canada on the college radio charts, has been called “a beautiful abomination” by fans and “an orchestration of foreign, unsettling industrial rock” by The Province. Both of those descriptions still seem pretty apt, particularly the bits about “unsettling” and “abomination,” so we’ll go with them.
Pyra herself, however, prefers to put it this way: “Meh, it’s no Appetite for Destruction, but still. It amuses me and I don’t hate these songs… yet.”