The Golden Killer is a child of the night. Born from dreams and raised on sweaty after-hours adventures, this debut album from Toronto trio LIONESS sounds like a basement dance party, stadium-sized by its powerful roars and rhythms.
Formed in 2007 by bassist Ronnie Morris and drummer Jeff Scheven (former rhythm section for controller.controller) and vocalist Vanessa Fischer (ex-No Dynamics), LIONESS released its self-titled debut EP in 2008, followed by Omens, Oracles and Signs Volumes 1 and 2, featuring singles remixed by Pilotpriest, Mansion, vitaminsforyou, Kids On TV and others. Now, the band’s sonic voodoo is fully realized on The Golden Killer. Produced by Leon Taheny (Owen Pallett, Holy Fuck) in the midst of a summer heat wave, it’s 12 tracks that capture the Lioness sound and vision: heavy jams you can dance to, draped in mystery and magick; Daft Punk meets Black Sabbath.
“The title came from a wildlife doc I was watching, looking for trippy background visuals,” explains Scheven, (who has directed videos for the band as well TV on the Radio, Diamond Rings and Death From Above 1979) “The narrator said ‘lioness…the golden killer!’ and I thought that was cool. Also, we think it’s a pretty killer record.”
From the first single, the hypnotic, haunting ‘The Night” to the muscular pulse of “Electricity” and “Temptation” through the slow doom burn of “They Clip the Wings of Birds,” and the mournful closer “Stay Awhile” (an homage to two dearly missed friends, Devon Clifford of Vancouver’s You Say Party and Toronto art provocateur Will Munro) The Golden Killer swings between ecstatic dance and heavy rock moods, but always summoning the dark side, thanks much to the mystical nocturnal musings of Fischer.
“A lot of the lyrics are about my dreams,” says the singer. “And I really feel the most exciting things happen in the night, you can do anything, and be anything. I like the aesthetic of the darkness, the stars. I find living in the city, when there’s a clear night and you can see stars it’s really inspiring. It puts me in this place that the world is so big, you’re so small, you really get a desire to make your mark.”
LIONESS has been leaving its mark on the stage with ferocious live shows, a synthesis of electronic rock band and performance art project. Their drum and bass wall of sound is electrified further by their dramatic costume designs. While flanked by her skull biker cohorts Fischer can appear as anything from a cloaked priestess to a vamped up biker to a salacious skeleton. They’ve toured with acts as diverse as You Say Party, k-os and The Cult, played themselves in Bruce McDonald’s rock ‘n’ roll movie Trigger and been sampled by Kelis.
Lioness is Vanessa Fischer (vocals), Ronnie Morris (bass), Jeff Scheven (drums).