By Rob Wacey, AllMusic
Known for her heavily atmospheric and dreamy psychedelic sound that’s aptly described as “desert rock” or an extension of the neo-torch song, Alexandra Savior (full name, Alexandra Savior McDermott) is an American alternative pop/rock singer/songwriter from Portland, Oregon. Developing an eclectic musical taste during her teens, Savior became interested in writing her own songs at the age of 14. Inspired by a broad range of artists such as Otis Redding, Jack White, Amy Winehouse, and Etta James, she began penning her own lyrics and figuring out her artistic direction by logging melody ideas and different guitar techniques via tape recorder.
Toward the end of 2013, Savior had signed with Columbia Records and begun to work on more material. Subsequently, the label sent some of her material to Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner to propose a possible collaboration in order to establish Savior’s sound further. With radically different songwriting structures and style, Turner’s approach began to hone the young singer’s songs along a specific route, more accurately encapsulating Alexandra’s sound, which she describes as “being in the middle of the desert, and being abducted…[a]nd opening up into a desert realm, where there’s a bar with nobody in it, a dark red light in the corner, with a woman crooning in a long black dress.” Such a description exemplified the songwriter’s artistic sensibility and visual approach to her art overall, as opposed to purely focused on the sound of it.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, she got to work on her first full-length effort (under the working title of Strange Portrait) with Turner and producer James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco (Foals, Depeche Mode). Her first demo, “Risk,” then appeared on the second season soundtrack of HBO’s popular anthology crime drama True Detective. Billed on the soundtrack as Alexandra McDermott, she then decided to use her middle name as her last for her stage persona, based on a suggestion from Turner. Savior eventually changed the album’s title to Belladonna of Sadness, which arrived in April of 2017. The record was promoted by the singles “Shades,” “M.T.M.E.,” “Mystery Girl,” and “Mirage” ahead of the record’s release.
This article originally appeared on AllMusic.