“(In 2017), when I was feeling so messed up in life, I started to use my tarot deck to try to clarify my feelings — and the first card I pulled was the Ace of Wands,” Rose told Music, Musings & Such in an interview. “When the three of us came together in this project, it felt like a beautiful collaboration and representation of all the forces held within the Ace of Wands card.”
Joined by Anna Mernieks on guitar and Jody Brumell on drums, the trio’s combined willpower materialized as their debut record, Lioness, which dropped last February. It digs into low-tempo grooves, letting ominous riffs simmer in a reverb-y broth. Though its self-imposed “Doom Lounge” genre tag is quite accurate, the album’s best cuts, like “Grown from Good,” reveal the hints of shimmering optimism bubbling beneath ’80s Goth Rock sensibilities.
The song’s accompanying video delves further into this contrast, centering on a shot of Rose floating in milky blue water before a jarring cut to her swathed in 30 feet of red and yellow fabric — this time treading forward.
It’s an ambitious visual statement for a DIY act, but one that speaks to Ace of Wands’ sound. For all the band’s patience and intimacy, each song on Lioness feels more anthemic than the sum of its parts. Images of sylvan wildlife and occultism leave much to be discovered among the wintry chords of Rose’s discontent. Tread carefully.
Ace of Wands plays a free show with Kate Wakefield and Bershy on Thursday, Feb. 27 at Northside Tavern. Showtime is 9 p.m.