reviewed by Laura Stanley
“Calm down” is an obnoxious phrase thrown at women usually by men, paired with an eye roll, attempting to invalidate their thoughts or feelings. It is The Worst and above all an insult. In her brilliantly entitled and emotionally rich EP Calm Your Body Down, Toronto’s Dorothea Paas subverts this expression. Paas uses her phrase to capture the themes of anxiety and the other struggles at play in the EP and it serves as a reminder, for herself and listeners, that what you’re feeling is legitimate and try as we might, calming down is not always in the cards.
Paas’ jams are a heady combo of grunge and emotionally rich lyrics that blanket Calm Your Body Down. The only thing that cuts through this dense layer is Paas’ sickly sweet vocals which has enough light to brighten the darkest of places – both “Doubled” and “Vessel” seem to drone off into oblivion until Paas pulls them out – and enough strength to climb out of the steepest piles of garbage as the opening track “Climbing” describes.
In this opener, Paas pits the din of a crunchy guitar and deliciously sloppy drum/bass combo, which embodies the exhausting mental debris rattling around one’s head, against her cries to rise above. About mid-way through the song slows down, everything is a little clearer, and Paas really is going to make it to “be seen and recognized against all odds.”
“A.D.” is a rambunctious blur of anger that comes through in the jostling guitar and a noticeably tightened drums. It comes across as if Paas’ has reached a breaking point and decides to express it in power chords and finally through the surrendering shout, “I need badly to be forgiven.”
Calm Your Body Down is an emotionally rich EP whose griminess should not overshadow its lyrical strengths. It won’t calm you down but that’s okay.
Top Track: “Climbing”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)