VR SEX is Andrew Clinco’s California-based synthwave/post-punk project. You might know Clinco better as “Deb Demure,” his androgynous and alien alter-ego he puts on for his band Drab Majesty (alongside Alex Nicolaou aka Mona D). I’ll preface this review by saying that I’ve been a long-time intense fan of Drab Majesty and Deb/Clinco, but for some reason never really got into VR SEX. I wish I could give you an excusable reason why, but nothing comes to mind. I simply never got around to it. And boy, what a mistake that was!
I got word of this new VR SEX album, released April 30th 2021, in the midst of moving, and thus was not able to get to my computer and write this review immediately. But now? Now it’s time!
I listened to Cyber Crimes on loop while driving across Florida, letting it simmer and dwell in my mind. As with anything of Clinco’s that I’ve listened to, this album managed to both encompass and subvert genre. In a desperate attempt to pin it down, I looked at the tabs on bandcamp for the album. It states: “punk, acid-punk, ambient, post punk, synth punk.” Now where does that leave us? Well, there’s synths involved. Jot down “synths,” and we’re halfway there. Post punk works, but, dear S&S reader, at this point I’m sure you’re familiar with exactly how broad the “post punk” label can be. I do like this label of synth punk. Acid punk, post punk, synth punk. Punk is repeated here. And punk is very, surely present in this album. It’s intense. It’s driving. It has hints of rock n roll.
Something else notable and delightful about this album is how it managed to sound both fresh and vintage. I can’t quite pin down what 80s band it reminded me of. Clan of Xymox, perhaps? Some of the less popular Jesus and Mary Chain tracks? Uh…The Damned? Even Sisters of Mercy popped into my head. None of these are apt descriptors. I encourage you to give it a listen and let me know what you think this sounds like. Or, perhaps, it’s inappropriate to try to compare VR SEX to the legends of old. As I said, it’s not just vintage, it’s fresh. Very fresh.
My favorite track on Cyber Crimes has got to be “Rock N Roll Death.” This is a song that I fantasize about dancing to at a club (once the pandemic subsides). It’s hard. It’s fast. It’s danceable. It’s rocks. It rolls.
I also thoroughly enjoyed “Dog Complex.” I know I said comparisons to past bands is perhaps not appropriate, but I can’t help but mention Bauhaus for this one. It’s dark. I’d even dare to say this track is on the gother side of the post punk spectrum. His vocals go a bit harsh here. The song itself is harsh. And I love that.
To finish off my review, let’s talk about this album art for a second! (Note: if you follow me as an S&S writer at all, you’ll know that I’ve got a passion for album art and have a few posts about it to my name up prior). Is vaporwave still a thing? Because I want to call this art “acidic vaporwave.” If that makes any sense. Anyways. The vibe of this art matches the album very well. It’s grainy, divided between a harsh green and a dark black-and-white. There’s meat. Why is there meat? Hell if I know, but it’s visceral, just like the tracks. The pixel-y “VR SEX” around the border comes in clutch with that vintage 80s feel. Honestly, just stare at that album art for 5 minutes before listening to the album and see if you can capture a feeling, a prediction of sorts of how the album will sound. I bet it’ll be pretty accurate!
In conclusion, I’m in love with this album and would absolutely recommend it. Clinco delivers.