Another chapter of Deadlights‘ upcoming The Uncanny Valley album landed last night, with “The King Of Nowhere” coming hot on the tail of the previously released “Born Of A Lie”. With continuity that’d make a Netflix series envious, “The King Of Nowhere”‘s music video – courtesy of Third Eye Visuals – carries the similar orangey hue of the video before it, and sees the previous overlording robot buried under a layer of sand. The fact that wired connection and orangey-brown landscape features on the album artwork makes it even more satisfying, and I’ve not even made mention of the song itself yet.
Breathing easier than the more dense single before it, “The King Of Nowhere” blends reality with an alternate reality space, marked by (visible and audible *chef’s kiss*) digitised transitions. With the four members of Deadlights cerebrally wired in, a broad riff almost proudly presents “I bury myself inside”, and a mental escape hatch is made apparent with the song’s lyrics.
Explaining the idea, vocalist Dylan Davidson has shared that the “nowhere” (that the song’s protagonist is king of) relates to “the wasteland of the unwatered mind.” He says “It is the dark place we barricade ourselves in when we want to hide from reality.” He adds that the song is about putting yourself in this wasteland and becoming lost without a way out of it, which I feel is most poignantly displayed by the moment when bassist and vocalist Sean Prior seems stunned when retrieving his wires and clothing from the sandy ground.
“Pass the blame, Hail Mary it all away.
Then crawl back in to your second skin.”
As an explorable metaphor, “The King Of Nowhere” details (with inimitable singing courtesy of Tynan Reibelt) the process of making mistakes without acknowledging them, nor being self aware enough to take responsibility. We witness this ‘nowhere land’ being explored by the band members, seeming to peak in a stunning shot when the robot’s crown is donned by Dylan. Drummer Josh O’Callaghan’s hair changing is worth a mention too, seeming to mark life changing even though they remain stuck in that nowhere space.
There’s a lot to be said about this song, such as its ability to sway the listener and keep them in its rapidly moving current, such as captivatingly flowing through a delectable pre-chorus to a lamenting bellow. Where it seems to start on a high, I sink into the growing unsettled feeling, getting more stressed and tense. It then returns to a high that’s married with an undercurrent of uncomfortable ignorance, and transitions us out again with digital static. I was moved and impressed from the first listen of this track.
As with a long list of Deadlights tracks before it, “The King Of Nowhere”‘s rhythms are ever-engaging, and the developing story and its feel – having the protagonist seeming to become more and more concerned – is satisfyingly organic. The result of this organic thread-following results in a song that’s hard to sum up succinctly, but is one that leaves a breathtaking impression from the experience of it. It’s hard to immediately think of another band that arranges songs as skillfully as Deadlights can, and The Uncanny Valley seems almost guaranteed to find its place on my Album Of The Year 2021 list.
TL;DR? I can’t get enough of this, and each listen (or watch) offers something new. All hail Deadlights: The Kings Of Post-Hardcore.