With “Bathed In Venom” still heavily featuring on my Spotify ‘On Repeat’ playlist, it’s a pleasure to have something new from “Deadlights from Brisbane”! Dylan Davidson (vocals) Tynan Reibelt (guitar & vocals), Josh O’Callaghan (drums), and Sean Prior (bass & vocals) definitely impressed with their Mesma album, but the new singles are a cut above, and I’m loving this trajectory that’s unfolding.
“Sugarcoated Psychosis” released today, along with a music video created by Nick Hargans. Colourful and trippy, it’s a joy to see Deadlights express themselves in full quirk mode in the new imagery, in conjunction with exploring something meaningful. It’s a delectable feast of sound and word, so where on earth do you start with talking about music like this?!
From the beginning, from Dylan turning on the TV and being faced with images of sugary treats, pills, and a newsdesk, it’s already seeming to wordlessly paint a scene of coercion, mindless consumption, and even addiction. Dark riffs add to this vibe.
When Dylan’s vocals joins in, this candied consumption expands clearly into the realm of music, where “fabricated phenomenon” almost certainly equates to industry orchestration of the ‘next big thing’. I picture a collective of producers manufacturing a hit to be played on repeat ad nauseam.
“We’ve heard it all before, we’ve been through the motions.”
Shining focus on the guts of the music industry (at least the mainstream side of things), Deadlights aren’t holding back in expressing their distaste for how it all plays out. I’ve personally pondered upon what they’re talking about before: When a song is played every hour around the clock on a radio station, do people really like it? Or is it just a form of Stockholm Syndrome? So I LOVE that this cycular madness is so blatantly being talked about here.
Coming at our ears with their signature approach to tense and tangled rhythms, things are only free at the chorus, where Tynan hits ridiculous peaks, much like the overinflated artists they seem to be talking about; metaphorically left adrift like balloons by their creators and handlers with no off button to the hype machine, even if things reach feverish or dangerous heights. The balloon metaphor is visually backed up by literal balloons featuring strongly in the song’s chorus.
With a millisecond of silence before further tension, the sympathies and attention of “Sugarcoated Psychosis” then turn toward the artist, who’s soaring high on success before trends shift and the furnace of fame turns cold. Getting darker at its midpoint – courtesy of punching thuds from Josh’s drums, monotone blasts from Tynan’s guitar, and tortured backing vocals – greed seems to be king, with no regard for the realities involved in this dynamic.
I adore that Tynan in the role of the inflated artist (at least, in my mind) lyrically shifts in the return of the chorus. Singing “I’m at the end of my tether, and I brought a knife”, this character is no longer floating mindlessly, but taking control of this inflation and its puppetry and command. And if we’re talking roles, then Dylan is the ‘bad guy’, threatening to ruin the artist, continuing the balloon metaphor in all of its vulnerability: “Just one wrong move and you’ll descend down, right?”
With Dylan referring to the song as “a battle cry spawned in retaliation against mass manufactured media”, I love that this sentiment is coming from a band that’s practically the opposite. There’s nothing orchestrated, contrived, or top 100 radio-friendly about this four piece, and still they create thoughtful, emotive, and impressive pieces of music with each step they take.
Watch “Sugarcoated Psychosis” below via YouTube, or listen elsewhere here: https://grysclrec.lnk.to/sugar. Might we also get to hear this on Thornhill‘s The Dark Pool Australian Tour?! Kicking off on Friday, Deadlights is supporting on the tour, along with Mirrors, and Tapestry. S-T-A-C-K-E-D. See you there. Tickets at DestroyAllLines.com.