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Allison Russell Casts Off Her ‘Demons’ (Review)

From her exquisite new record, The Returner, Allison Russell’s “Demons” finds the singer-songwriter and musician wrangling her demons and putting them to rest. Even though they wreaked havoc on her body and mind, she still finds the courage to “look ’em in the face” and cast them in the sunshine. “Used to be so damn terrified,” she sings over a funkadelic groove.

Instead of allowing her demons to control her, she puts them on the proverbial bus and lets them exist without sitting in the driver’s seat. “We all have our demons and there’s no spell to make them vanish for good,” says Russell in a statement. “I’m not even sure we want such a spell. Demons have their uses. They just don’t get to call the shots anymore—WE PUT EM ON THE BUS BUT WE DIDN’T LET EM DRIVE — that’s what it comes down to. They don’t get to drive, and they can’t steal our joy. And yes that’s an Outkast homage at the end of the song.”

“Hush that fuss / Send your demons to the back of the bus / No matter how they holler,” she sings, as the arrangement dissipates into quiet gusts. “No matter how they moan / They can’t change where they are going…”

Listen to “Demons” below.

The Returner follows Russell’s 2021 solo debut album, Outside Child. Russell is most known for performing in several bands and collectives, including Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters. It doesn’t matter how and where she makes music, she always excels in her craft. The Returner isn’t any different; in fact, it might be her best one yet!

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