As the blown circuit breakers of subterranean clubs across the nation can attest, Valentine plays a mean guitar. Though she and her longtime partner (drummer Edgar Livengood) hail from Athens, Ga., their wall-of-amps-and-drum-bashing vision is a far cry from the jangly six-string pop of hometown heroes R.E.M., whose singer Michael Stipe has called the duo "a very loud and aggressive Southern gothic version of PJ Harvey." Though his flattery's not entirely off the mark, a better soulmate is My Bloody Valentine, the British band of the late '80s and early '90s that married iridescent noise with honeyed melodies.
Fortunately, Jucifer is no knockoff. Sultry chanteuse Valentine may seduce the mike with perfumed whispers one minute, then devour it with satanic fury the next. And her grinding hallucinatory guitar coupled with Livengood's chain-gang beats is closer to acid grunge than dreamy pop. All of which adds to the agonizing pleasure of pledging devotion to a warrior princess and her hell-bound sound.