Mixtape review: Mimi Barks – DEADGIRL

Doom-trap disruptor Mimi Barks unleashes the darkness inside on invigoratingly unsettling mixtape DEADGIRL…

Mixtape review: Mimi Barks – DEADGIRL
Sam Law

Mimi Barks’ music is deliciously dirty. At times, throbbing hip-hop beats and unapologetically harsh electro evoke the hot latex and smeared bodily fluids of her background in Berlin’s underground club scene. At others, clanging industrial and serrated fury channel the cold, twisted metal and grime-beneath-the-fingernails reality of the London warehouse districts she’s since decided to call home. Constantly, there is the sense that these sounds have long been festering in the shadows of her subconscious: going in as recognisable fragments, then oozing out as something new.

DEADGIRL confirms that Mimi is becoming a queen of corruption. ‘I'm my own God / And I believe in nothing but pain,’ she declares amongst the juddering basslines and head-spinning synths of the title-track. SAW pulls us deeper under, veering towards horror-movie atmospherics. UNDEAD IT drags us into its nightmarish churn, allowing fellow trap star Envious to take centre stage at first, before our anti-heroine storms back in to unleash her brand of irresistible, slinking menace.

To the uninitiated, this could feel like an evolution of old-school shock-rock. Similar to Mimi’s intimidating outer aesthetic, though – all blacked-out contact lenses and glinting stainless steel, smeared makeup and outlandish bondage attire – these severe sounds are armour for more relatable vulnerabilities underneath. At its dark heart, this is a concept record about the “rebirth of a broken child” (the titular DEADGIRL; Mimi herself), and the existential explorations of self-loathing, depression and vengeance that run through nihil and SUICIDE into the cataclysmic ABYSS are about empowerment rather than surrender.

Ultimately, that defiance is what elevates these songs of fear and loathing, filth and fury. It’s why Mimi Barks is becoming one of the most essential artists in modern alternative music.

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: Dana Dentata, SCARLXRD, GHOSTEMANE

DEADGIRL is out now via Silent Cult

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