The influence that cuts most clearly through “Laugh at the Confusion” is dub. It’s a form of reggae which has been mercilessly tweaked and toyed with, from Sublime to the inception of dubstep, but it’s always been done best when its roots are honored. Miss Cactus & the Desert do just that, with a simple groove, hypnotically memorable hook, and slinking horn lines. The songwriting has a lucid clarity that elevates the best dub tracks, complemented by an eerie flow and a healthy dose of dripping atmosphere.
Miss Cactus & the Desert are fronted by singer-songwriter Alondra Cactus, whose commanding lead vocals are reminiscent of greats like Jimmy Cliff, but with sufficient weirdness to conjure up left field reggae innovators like Althea and Donna. Her lyricism is tinged with a modern self-deprecation more commonly found in darker pockets of indie rock. “Yeah I could be stunning, or maybe completely unluring,” Cactus sings in her elongated drawl. She describes a tumultuous relationship with herself, a biting cycle of self-awareness carried by stagnation and apathy. Eventually, her frustrations give way to succinct and tasteful solos, which quietly follow “Laugh at the Confusion” to its end.
Follow Miss Cactus & the Desert on Facebook, and look for their debut EP out later this year.
Written by Preston Fulks