If you’re chewing your lip wondering why Auguste are so oddly familiar and yet not at all, you’re definitely onto something. Beth Keough and Skye Lockwood were once Echo & The Empress – the summery, harmonic, indie pop stepsister duo from Adelaide who once played the hallowed John Peel stage of Glastonbury and blew the mud-splattered minds of the festivalgoers there with their enchantingly sweet melodies.
Since then the genre, along with the name, has been mostly shrugged off. Although snippets of their acoustic past can be heard in the spaces and in-between moments – most notably their vocals – the pair has re-emerged in a different form, as the electro-leaning Auguste. The new name holds sentimental weight, and Keough and Lockwood say even the process of adjusting their focus and establishing a new style was something they loved doing, as it gave them a chance to experiment, and to creatively dabble with different vocal sounds and genres along the way.
Step-sister duo Auguste – rising from the ashes of Echo & The Empress – dance the line between gloom and light in their beautiful new video for Kingdom.
Reborn as Auguste, there’s a sense that they’ve emerged from their chrysalis, knowing that it’s here where they want to be. And long-time Echo & The Empress fanatics will be soothed into this new form with the knowledge that the duo are still seizing every opportunity to show the scope of their disarming, unique voices.
Kingdom is the pair’s second track under their new moniker and, like its predecessor, Slow Motion, was produced under the guidance of the prolific Andy Bull. Distinct from the poppier past, Kingdom is resolutely synth-peppered, providing a free-falling, iridescent insight into this newly established, hypnotic sound. The vocals are really what bind the song together, as the duo alternate bruising, moody lyrics, like: ‘Caught me in the bright light/asked where I’d been last night’ and ‘Fall, you’re inside out/hold the devil close’. These open up to smooth, rich moments of harmony as their distinctive voices intertwine.
These vocals sit over ethereal electro-pop – with moments of pulsing stop-start instrumentals that weave and bend, or are stripped right back into just-broken arpeggios. The result is dark, but uplifting, with beautiful, harp-like instances weaving their way into those brooding melodies. These light and dark seductions are reflected too in Kingdom’s accompanying monochromic video, which features a swirling, graceful dance that kicks of fragmented and edgy, but soon winds up beautifully fluid and emotionally charged.
Whatever the future holds for this mesmerising pair, we’re definitely along for the ride.