Thursday 8 August 2019

HTRK - New Year's Day

It has been ten years since HTRK’s debut, Marry Me Tonight, and four years since their last album, Psychic 9-5 Club. At long last, the Melbourne duo of Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang are gearing up to release a new album, Venus in Leo. In the lifetime of their band they have tragically lost both their longtime collaborator Rowland S. Howard and bandmate Sean Stewart. Each new release find the duo pursuing catharsis in new sonic landscapes, while still preserving the distinctive hallmarks of their sound.

If Psychic 9-5 Club was an album seeking meaning in the abstract – with its exploratory minimalist sound design and soft, pensive vocals – Venus in Leo seems to be an album seeking meaning in the past, mining memories and episodes from which meaning might be revived. The energy is different, with Yang’s spacey, reverb-heavy guitars making a return; the band describes "returning to HTRK’s underground rock past with the stylistic playfulness and variety of a modern mixtape." And the themes are personal but accessible, even relatable: first kisses, childhood homes, New Year's celebrations.

The new single is “New Year's Day” - a song that drifts into psychedelic, shoe-gaze territory, while perfectly capturing the bittersweet feelings associated with a night full of bad decisions:

“New Year’s Day” traces a flimsy resolution to get healthier, instantly busted by an evening of debauchery, recalling “the worst possible start to the year with bad friends and bad behavior.” The silver lining is the sunrise: “pink, red, orange, white, peach” Standish repeats as the track laps with a velvety, hypnotic refrain."

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