Constant growth is an intrinsic component of life, whether you acknowledge it or not. As we live, we learn. Along our infinitely diverse paths of personal progression, it is only natural that we reach for inspiration in order to point us in an appealing direction; a painting, a mentor, a piece of music.
The nature of these catalysts shift and warp between contexts, often inspiring many within a given collective but never holding an identical relevance to any two people.
Catchy hooks and pristine electro production allow Slumberhaze’s statement to be heard with the accompaniment of their fascinating video, Neon Demon
Within the context of Sydney’s modern cultural identity, we see the legacy of a town fuelled by vibrancy and progression being repressed by a string of illogical and oftentimes hypocritical lock-out laws that are ineffective in resolving the issues they’re supposed to combat.
Slumberhaze’s new single and music video Neon Demon bleeds relevance to this wounded city as it paints a satirically raw image of the issues that hinder a flourishing culture of positive growth, acting as a perfect source of inspiration for identifying the paths of progression that need to be followed in order to save our city.
Crunchy riffs and smooth lyricism wash over melancholic tones that narrate the comically tragic tale of our prime-ape protagonist in the accompanying video.
Ethereal keys introduce the piece, ambiguously setting the scene alongside a smattering of psyched-out effects that pan between speakers as they warp and shift, showcasing post-production brilliance. A stabbing drum fill brings us into a four-to-the-floor, bassy kick pattern over which solo vocals enter, melodiously soaring over a texture that remains wispy with prominence in the high end keys. Simultaneously, we see our monkey friend kitting up for a big night on the town as he hitches a ride to Oxford Street, greeting friends, featuring in selfies and sinking a pint of charcoal-black Guinness.
Layering becomes the name of the game as strings, shakers and low-registered piano chords step into the pre-chorus, solidifying a minor tonality and paradoxically painting a tragic theme over the seemingly innocent on-screen night antics.
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Drink no.2 bring us into the chorus, where drums finally enter alongside high backing vocals and a sexy-sad clean bassline. The chorus lyrics “it’ll be alright” are sung in an ironic tribute to our monkey friend as we see our first drunken stumble in amongst a climactically thick textured chorus that hits quick and backs off even faster, ironically, sort of like the infamous coward punch.
Transitioning back into the verse, we see two changes: Our protagonist has regressed to a somewhat sorry state and the previously washy texture now contains the addition of a moving bassline, sounding almost like a funkified pizzicato upright.
Prominence in the high register of keys and low register with bass leaves a void somewhere in the middle where the vocalist showcases his controlled tone that slices clean through the mix without leaving a cut. A steady disappearance of our protagonist’s sobriety becomes clear throughout this verse, acting as a loose-fitting (like the very monkey suit that sags at the edges) metaphor for the slow but sure degradation of a city who’s culture is under threat.
Following this statement, we see our mate first refused a drink before, lo-and-behold, our beloved premier Mike Baird (or at least a paper printout rendition) lays down his own laws and prevents the monkey from entering a club.
As a response to the rejection, our protagonist soon finds himself wasting away on the pokies, a resounding statement to the hypocrisy of having a casino that stands in its own little bubble of lock-out avoidance with no apparent sensible rationale to support such a ludicrous exemption.
A solemn harmony of horns flows over the reintroduced four-to-the-floor kick pattern as we exit the extended chorus section, adding an unheard tonal layer to the mix and complimenting the visual stimulus of a monkey that holds its head in drunken misery and disconnection.
This horn intermission is then replaced by the chorus groove that pulses with steady motion, only now the mid-register is filled with a clean-toned crunchy guitar scratch riff that speaks undertones of joy and hope beneath the overriding melancholic feel. To support this, our friend the monkey unexpectedly stumbles across a sign that reads “Don’t believe the haze”, which leads him to a backyard club doorway.
Inside the mysterious club he discovers a smoky neon-lit scene, filled with an array of dancing animals who welcome him into their midst. The lyrics “We’re just dancing” are repeated until we return to the same high-register keyboard line from the beginning, eventually closing on a close-up of the words “don’t believe the haze”.
This ambiguous statement alongside the imagery lends itself to a city that is in dire need of a saving grace as inhabitants struggle to fit into the restricting mould imposed by a morally questionable government. For our monkey friend, the saving grace is a backyard clubhouse that welcomes all animals. For us, the saving grace is a work in progress; unclear, but imperative.
Slumberhaze’s video is a potent and much needed artistic statement, and it’s incredibly entertaining to boot!