Sydney’s We Lost The Sea have released a powerful song from their upcoming album Triumph & Disaster which releases on 1st October. “A Beautiful Collapse” is the second track of the album, and is admittedly my first foray into the world of this progressive post-rock band. The band features Matt Harvey, Mark Owen, and Carl Whitbread on guitar, Kieran Elliot on bass, Mathew Kelly on piano and synths, and Nathaniel D’Ugo on drums.
From mere seconds into “A Beautiful Collapse”, I was intrigued enough to stay for the entire 7:34 duration, initially spellbound by the gentle nostalgic peeks at humanity. The presence of powerful quotes overlaid the stock footage imagery added a reminder of gratitude and the joy of being in the moment.
As the gentle guitar morphed into a noisier soundscape of riffs, the nostalgia bled into regret. A well-timed quote from Sylvia Plath (“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”) and more focus on mechanical and industrial advances in the video’s footage hit home I was witnessing an ever-darkening view of humanity.
As fixated with ourselves and our image as we are with plundering the earth irrespective of the consequences, “A Beautiful Collapse” starts to be most palpable around the two and half minute mark, where billowing cooling towers and collapsing ice shelves are juxtaposed with brilliant white smiles and television sitcoms. It’s horrific enough as a video, and even worse when you know it’s grounded in reality.
It becomes tough to watch, when indulgence collides with destruction, and, courtesy of the rhythmic drum punches and riffs, you can practically feel the earth sagging under the weight of the human impact. ‘She’ is all but waiting with a heavy heart for us to destroy ourselves completely. Footage of war and human casualties make this seem inevitable. As powerful as we are as creators, we treat others as dispensable; creating our own demise. As if to reinforce this, “We are simultaneously gods and worms.” quoted by American psychologist Abraham Maslow appears on the video.
As the band themselves describe, “A Beautiful Collapse” takes on the viewpoint of observation of this exponential destruction. As guitarist Mark Owen shares, this is through the eyes of the universe or a “particularly nonchalant omnipotent being who watches from afar with a morbid curiosity as the last death throes of humanity shudder one last time.”
While we don’t typically cover purely instrumental genres, I can easily make an exception for pieces that are as moving and meaningful as “A Beautiful Collapse”. And the more I look and the more I learn, the more wowed I am by We Lost The Sea and what they’re about as a band. For example, believe it or not, the story of Triumph & Disaster is shared via an illustrated children’s book! Highly recommend taking time with this beauty!
Watch “A Beautiful Collapse” via YouTube below. Pre-orders for Triumph & Disaster are available via We Lost The Sea’s bandcamp page.