The Courtesans – 1917

album by:
The Courtesans

Reviewed by:
On 31 July 2014
Last modified:31 July 2014


An excellent debut album from The Courtesans.

the courtesans - 1977The Courtesans are a London based all female band consisting of Sinead La Bella (vocals), Saffire Sanchez (guitar), Agnes Jones (bass) and Victoria Brown (drums).  Their music is dark, sultry, fascinating and addictive.  Their live shows are a blend of beautiful music, superb vocals and a large theatrical element as they make their gigs into shows, that have included them performing in their underwear or pouring melted candle wax on one members bare skin. While they may use some sexy or provocative images to promote themselves, there’s no sense that this is a naive group of girls being exploited – more that this is a group of women who are completely in control and use their image how they want to use it.

After a successful Pledgemusic campaign they recorded  their debut album and released the download to Pledgers earlier this year.  They then decided they could make it better, so have delayed the release of the CDs to enable them to remix the album.  Now that process is complete Pledgers are able to download the improved version, and will be looking forward to getting their CDs very soon.
Well it’s been a long time since the Pledge campaign launched in December 2012, but listening to the album it’s certainly been worth the wait.

The vocals are soft and sultry with quite a haunting feel to them.  The music is dark and slow – not quite Doom metal, it’s a softer sound than that, and the results are simply superb.

Brief comments on a couple of tracks….

The first single from the album is “Genius” – check out the video for yourself.  While cynics might see the start of it with the band in their underwear and tied to a stake and dismiss it as pandering to male fantasies, as the video goes on you see them breaking free of their bonds and looks at the things women do to meet societies expectations of beauty, with things like botox, slimming pills and more.  I think it’s a great video and it’s definitely a great song.

As you’d expect from a song called “Sleaze”, it’s all about sex, with lines such as “sadistic but erotic”, “it’s risky, so frisky”, and “ripping off your tights, in my dirty mind”.  The vocals are perfect for this song, and the music has a nice strong guitar driven sound.

My favourite track on the album is the first song I heard them do – their superb cover of “Venus in furs”.  Like the Velvet Underground original it’s got a dark and disturbing feel to it – essential really for a song inspired by the book of the same name by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (whose name is the origin of the word Masochism in the same way the marquis De Sade is linked to Sadism).  Often I’m not a fan of cover versions, but this one is so good that I love it.

An excellent debut album from The Courtesans.

Track listing:

1. Blood money
2. Dirty killer
3. Genius
4. Hard man to kill
5. Indigo
6. Liberate
7. Lullaby
8. Scream
9. Sleaze
10. Swallow
11. Venus in furs

The Courtesans are…

Sinead La Bella – vocals
Saffire Sanchez – guitar
Agnes D. Jones – bass
Victoria Brown – drums

An excellent debut album from The Courtesans.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.