Nobody knows the void like a trans lady does. There is no dark night of the soul that can compare to what most trans women just call “Tuesday.” The toxic combination of societal violence and body dysphoria can really cast a pall over existence—and inspire some incredible art about isolation, body horror, and impending death. From Anna Varney Cantodea to Genesis P Orridge (yes, Genesis is trans!) transfeminine people have made some of the rawest, saddest, strangest music in history. Now, The Bedroom Witch (Sepehr Mashiahof) is here to carry on that legacy.
I am a big fan of her previous two albums, Moon Bathing and Ceremonial Serenades. When I am in the mood for something between Trust, Crystal Castles, and some sepulchral 80’s goth, I go to The Bedroom Witch. Doom and gloom pervades, between danceable beats and sparkling synths.
My Mother Grows Plants With Her Eyes is a bit different. It contains a new artistic element for Mashiahof: hope.
From the first notes of “Lullabies From The Womb,” I was enraptured by this EP. Mashiahof keens, tunefully but mournfully, seeming to echo Creatures-era Siouxsie Sioux. A little tape hiss, and a hint of vocal distortion, add a simmering sense of foreboding. This sweet little intro track flows straight into “My Mother Grows Plants With Her Eyes,” a gorgeous ode to the feminine, the maternal, the generative.
The Bedroom Witch specializes in dirges. Yet “My Mother Grows Plants With Her Eyes” is a song full of love, hope and wonder. I can almost hear Mashiahof smiling as she sings, “she knows that I see the end to everything/but it’s so clear her garden is always green in me.” It’s as if Mashiahof has allowed her mother’s optimistic spirit to take over for this one track. It’s a beautiful song, wistfully uplifting and hooky as hell.
The Bedroom Witch is back to pessimistic form with “The Wheel Of Misfortune” which opens with the line “i’m a mess, too depressed to be seen.” This track is a winner, too: deeply relatable lyrics, mesmerizing synths, and a blending of multitracked vocals which show of Mashiahof’s range.
“Sign It In Blood” is shorter, leaner and a total earworm. Out of all the tracks on the EP, this is the one I couldn’t get out of my head after just one listen—but it has definite replay value. It is followed by, of all things, a Christina Aguilera cover, “Genie In A Bottle.” Given that I am the opposite of an Xtina fan, it might sound like damning with faint praise to call it “better than the original.” Far more than that, Mashiahof has transformed it into a legit Bedroom Witch song. A choice which might have seemed like a bad joke proves to be the most logical thing in the world. She makes you believe that she wrote it herself.
The closer, “Last Myth Standing,” took the longest to grow on me, but I love it now. It’s the most confrontational track on the EP, and also the one that deals the most directly with gender identity, as Mashiahof sings “i don’t fashion myself to feed your curiosities.” The groove is strong, the hooks stick in your head, the sinuous synth riffs slither right up your spine.
My only bone to pick with this EP is that it’s not full album. It left me wanting more. Luckily for me, The Bedroom Witch has an album coming out later this year. My fingers crossed are for more of the same—another apocalyptic graveyard dance party to make me think, feel, and move.
9.0 / 10
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