Hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, Terrible Sons are married couple Matt and Lauren Barus who have deprived us of their collaboration for too long. Although having played together previously they stated this week that Terrible Sons “Is the first time it’s just the two of us, creatively speaking.” We couldn’t be happier this has happened. One can sense the connection and closeness of the performers throughout their first single.
Truly ethereal, Terrible Sons have you scratching your scalp to massage them tingles after watching their clip for Neptune.
Neptune is smooth and easy while at the same time becoming increasingly dense, interesting, and complex with each listen. Everything is melded so well together that it’s dreamlike, the listener is suspended in time. Speaking of how their relationship affected this process they said they were able to be very open with each other while making music. “We push each other more and can disagree more with the goal of getting something we think is better. We wanted to have a simple palette of sounds. We have a push-me pull-you relationship where Lauren wants beauty and I want ‘weird’ – her description!” said Matt. I think we got everything they wanted.
Neptune docks to our shores with an accompanying video that only accentuates the power of the song. The experience created by this film clip is the major reason I personally, listen to music. Neptune drives to the core of human emotions and evokes the moments of reflection we all have in life. Even before seeing the video, the track transports us straight to a rocky outcrop above the ocean where the colours are all a bit leached out as our mind focuses inwards. The things we think about most in life are not always the things we speak about. Neptune speaks for us, at one point asking “Am I lost, or naive?” This line perfectly encapsulates a tortured soul who feels the overwhelming pressures of the world.
The film is stark and bleak but so affective in reinforcing the messages of the song. Based on strong visual impact and metaphor rather than a linear narrative it’s one to get lost in. An image of a man floating upside down under the sea is a great contrast between the song’s almost limitless space and the feeling of not being able to find an escape from pain. The clip was masterminded by Arthur Gay of Candlelit Pictures in Auckland. The band now can’t imagine the song without the video. “He expanded our broad guidelines of depth, darkness and water and added an angle of revelation – he heard in the song an exposing of the self and of emotions. This is really Arthur’s baby; he heard the song and the world grew.” And grow it does, much like the song, each passing second bringing further emotive release.
Still, Neptune hooks you from the beginning. That simple guitar loop that kicks in after the light piano opening is as steady as the sea and also confounding in its ability to produce such a melancholic atmosphere. The lyrics are amazing, both singers overlapping like two crests of the same wave. This wave pulls with it new sounds to catch with every encompassing wash you receive. The strings in the chorus are almost too much (I say this as a compliment). The song was already desperately gorgeous enough.
With a baby girl joining the family, Terrible Sons have created a sound their daughter will be proud of. Neptune is gentle, moody, thoughtful, and eerily beautiful.
As with every band I speak to I asked Terrible Sons what animal would represent them and I think they got it spot on. “A narwhal – magical with its unlikely horn, awkward because it seems impossible (not good in tight spots), and it swims in the deep.”
If you enjoyed this, you’ll be excited to know the finishing touches are being put on the duo’s debut album. If their full-length release lives up to Neptune, we’re in for a treat.