In conversation last week Cat & Stacia said they danced often, “whenever the rhythm is good”, but are unsure of their inspiration. In the world of THEESatisfaction the rhythm is always good and their synchronised moves are themselves wholly inspiring. The Seattle-based couple just released awE naturalE, their debut LP on Sub Pop. They might be on a big label, but they are still performing to a backing track. This cost of live instrumental accompaniment means that firstly, the duo can do a lap of Europe with logistical ease (save lost passport dramas in Portugal) and, secondly, lacing one backing track after another quickly spins a web of dizzying psychedelic-soul.
As deftly as they hop from toe to heel, drop shoulder and kick-back, THEESatisfaction skip through R&B, hip-hop, jazz, disco, and funk – channeled by poised divas with a modernistic aesthetic … and a uniform stoic gaze. Ice-cold and mysterious both glare with a zoned-out focus, their warm human side spills out through spoken-word style sing-talk. They can be playful: “Sweat through your cardigan”, urging to “bring yourself” on ‘Queens’. They can be political: “Hitler stashed Obamas wearing army colored sashes/ rainbow flags blowing, burning crosses, sprinkled ashes/ in the oiled waters of the dollars dropped on masses/ THEESatisfaction could give a fuck about a fascist” on ‘Earthseed’, (a throwback to activist songs from the ‘70s.) They can also be playfully political, “the world is flat/ flatter than your ass”, decreeing black power on ‘Deeper’, “if a monster were to attack/ it wouldn’t find me at night/ because I camouflage to black.”
To the grooves of afrofurturism the set spirals around nu-soul harmonies and trickling jazz rhymes taking in new album tracks and older material – the quality of which indistinguishable, both production-wise and infectious catchiness. ‘Bisexual’ is lifted off Snow Motion. ‘Oh THEES Bitches’ spits out over rimshot cracks, ‘Icing’ is smooth Baduism and ‘Enchantruss’ shoots gunshot beats and spacey melodies delivered in stereo.
There was no time for chatter from the girls on stage. No crowd-pleasing Guinness quips or lofty God praising. THEESatisfaction’s place of worship is an intergalactic church. Their charm comes solely from their projection as performers and the world they have created and are believably absorbed in. A world so vividly painted the lines with reality are blurred, fighting an ‘Astronomical Warfare’ the girls question it themselves, “I don’t trust myself / Sometimes I touch myself to see if I’m real.” A world that is indeed awE naturalE.