I copped the press material for Habits the other week and the first thing that popped out at me was that the Melbourne two-piece create ‘sad goth party jams’. I ain’t gon’ lie, I initially scoffed at the casual buzzwordiness of the intro and skipped ahead to the song, not exactly sure what to expect but not holding much hope. Once the opening notes of ‘Ether’ came through my headphones I was caught by the eerie nature of the vocals – ghostly and intangible – before being taken by the echo and rhythm of the beat. I was surprised, pleasantly. Both members of Habits sing and they sing incredibly well – wraithlike in the femme, forlorn and r’n’b-influenced in the homme.
I hear smatterings of similarities to other contemporary dark r’n’b sounds that are coming into vogue. Comparatively, the styles of Oscar Key Sung and How To Dress Well come to mind (Oscar Key Sung did some production work on a 2013 Habits single), but as Habits aren’t singular in voice there seems to be room to move and potential for different approaches. ‘Ether’ is sumptuous in sound, easy to submerge one’s self into like a pool of cool water, captivating like a heady perfume. I hear undertones of sadness within the vocals, though I feel as if they wear the term ‘goth’ loosely. ‘Ether’ also isn’t party music, but perhaps it would make a great soundtrack to liquor-soaked reflection and after-party woes.
I’m happy I listened to the song and thankful that I gave it ‘Ether’ a listen. I urge those who are put off by overly aesthetic-conscious units to look further than the pastel-health-goth façade and give over to the croon, and also dig back and listen to the creative and viscerally soulful ‘Vinnies’.
‘Ether’ is the lead single for the forthcoming Habits EP, Ugly Cry.