Like a returning stellar fragment from the nebulous and forgotten reaches of the Antipodean constellations, New Zealand duo based in Auckland, The Melancholies, popped up at the end of September, albeit only over the weekend for me, with the almost ‘under the radar’ new single, “Love Herself”, apparently the final addition to the band’s 4-track self-titled EP completed over a period of 4 years.
As a long time a pretty attentive follower of the Australasian musical scenes, I had been quite seduced back then by the few compelling releases from the Orewa/Dunedin duo, readily echoes of Young Marble Giants, Portishead, Slowdive, XX, Four Tet, HTRK, MBV, Chromatics even Pink Floyd raced through my mind…the debut single, “Cute Aggression”, inspired by Genesis P. Orridge‘s ‘Pandrogyne Project’, while the sophomore, “Cool Magic”, by Kenneth Anger‘s aesthetic added further intrigue. A full-length album seemed on the horizon, to go on hiatus for almost a couple of years instead.
Comprised of Tom Young, an experienced member of elegant and soulful R&B collective Leisure, and newcomer Holly Coogan, the production/composition unit crafts enveloping and introspective darkly psych-inflected electronic minimalism laced with a distinctive pop sensibility, swelling by soft and warm rhythmic patterns, snaky bass palpitations and delicate glistening guitar lines, thick with wistful and ghostly vocals, to build thoroughly gripping and immersive soundworlds, amidst an underlying sultry menace, rife with a heady concoction of emotive dream-pop noir, blissfully techno atmospherics, subtly reverberant shoegaze haze, and voluptuous giddy trip-hop allure.
“Love Herself” whilst deals with observational lyrics that describe the selfish, superficial, and destructive behaviour of a lost soul while begging the question, “Does she love you? Or does she love herself?”, is triggered by ceaselessly crispy, groovy and sultry percussions twined with throbbing rubbery bassline sinuosity, surrounding ominously by lurking swirling spirals of droning synth swathes, while gently obsessive sparkling guitar peals give off a spacey lysergic aura, augmenting the mesmeric humming effect around dreamy, airy beguiling female vocals caressing with breathy tunnels of cloudy tranquillity to drip numb anxiety through an intoxicating shroud of syncopated narcotic fear.
The Melancholies seem ready for their next musical chapter, hopefully, we will be able to listen to new stuff soon…
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