The start of a new chapter for Congrats has been revealed with the release of new single “Russian Roulette”. As the solo project of Slowly Slowly‘s frontman Ben Stewart, Congrats has proven to be a bewitching musical project, even for heavy music aficionados like us. Congrats’ pop songs and trap beats seem to be simply a different vehicle for Ben’s flavour of authenic songwriting that we know and love him for via Slowly Slowly.
“Russian Roulette” is as smooth and memorable as songs before it, such as “Cut Down the Middle”, and also comes with a dark and cinematic music video created by Kyle Caulfield. Suited in white and with retro styling, the video takes us into an atmosphere with rain running down car windows, and night time drives lit by the glow of a cigarette. Dark and destructive of mood, brooding scenes are interspersed with red hues of tail lights and the shine of jewellery. A car crash, pills, and police are included in this dark vignette.
The discomfort of indefinite and damaging waiting seems to be a theme of “Russian Roulette”, and the lyric references to the turning of the earth and not being ready hints at this painful stagnancy. Ben shares that the song is about “running at self destruction while being dragged back by the collar of conscience,” and that he and producer Konstantin Kersting had wanted to capture “the energy of a bender, but with a celebratory element,” and were keen for it to feel “on edge”.
“Tell me what it means to be good”
Exploring the song from its start, “Russian Roulette” has the noise of urban life fade away with the arrival of clarity in introspection. Impatience and grittiness then build to a rapid escalation before collapsing into the chorus. A ‘What the fuck am I doing and what even matters?!’ vibe is palpable, and wistfully yearning longheld notes stretch out while softer ethereal tones are a mainstay throughout.
The handclapping spark of joy at the song’s pre-chorus ahead of the chorus’ defeat keeps the listener on their emotional toes, with it all combining as a rollercoaster ride of a song. The grit of the bridge that takes us through a lyrical realisation of presence (“Right at the moment that I realised you’ve been by my side”) is a highlight. But any kind of analysis aside, “Russian Roulette”‘s chorus is dreamy and addictive as well as angsty, and the song is yet another gem from the creative genius of Ben Stewart.
“Russian Roulette” is hinted as being the first taste of a “larger body of work” intended for release later this year, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, enjoy “Russian Roulette” below via YouTube or through your favourite streaming places.