As self-identifying band descriptions go, “Satanic Doo-Wop” is a hard one to beat. Los Angeles husband and wife duo Twin Temple (frontwoman Alexandra and lead guitarist Zachary James) have concocted a musical witches’ brew of early rock n roll, 60s soul, 70s psych, and yes, doo-wop, all in the service of praising the Dark Lord himself, Satan. This is all, of course, utterly irresistible. They also crucially have the songs to back up such an outrageous high concept, along with a well-judged mix of self-awareness and pure commitment to their theatrically cultivated aesthetic of all things occult.
The band make their first visit to Glasgow tonight in the suitably subterranean confines of Stereo and after a zealously ripe reading from The Satanic Bible, things kick off with a rousing The Devil Didn’t Make Me Do It. What’s immediately apparent is just how much of a charismatic powerhouse Alexandra James is, selling every word and commanding the stage with the exuberant fervour of a gospel preacher. Her jazzy vocal inflections bring to mind Amy Winehouse and is a fine fit for the band’s doo-wop revisionism, with waltzing ballad Lucifer, My Love proving utterly electric, the song’s expertly deployed swells of Hammond organ and bursts of saxophone rising to a euphoric crescendo that would make you think it was a Otis Redding song were it not for lines like, “Satan, deliver me from society’s hypocrisy” or the spoken verse mic drop of “Anyway, baby, you’re a much better kisser than Jesus”.
Every song really does hit home, the intensity of the playing and crowd response reaching a fever pitch by the time a deliriously thrilling Sex Magick is rolled out, its soaring chorus and Mariachi horns already sounding like a coven anthem in the making. The song is one of many that relay a distinctly feminist reclaiming of Satanism’s core principles of free will, tolerance and fighting against oppression, with the band’s call to “hex the patriarchy” a true mission statement as much as it is a cracking t-shirt slogan.
As this spectacular show concludes with the backing band building to a free-form noise freak-out and Twin Temple marking the front rows with bloody corn syrup crosses to the forehead, you can’t help but think this is the stuff obsessive cultdom is made of and that you might have just watched one of the most purely enjoyable live bands in the world.