One of Australia’s most intriguing darkwave electronic acts is revisiting its stellar 2015 debut EP. Mollusc’s self-titled effort is a gripping example of the depth and nuance evident in the burgeoning genre over the past few years, and this remastered effort further solidifies the duo’s reputation as experts in the art and is a prophetic predictor as to the quality of their subsequent works. It Records is releasing the remastered version of the EP, which comes paired with a collection of remixes from some of Mollusc’s talented contemporaries.
The tandem of Mohini Hillyer and Emma Hart as electro-tinged post-punk outfit Mollusc has played a crucial role in defining and galvanising the growing darkwave scene in Australia, which has flourished in the latter half of the 2010s. Hypnotic and near-impenetrable in nature, the band’s 2015 debut EP is a sterling example of the power of the genre, blending a mixture of haunted industrial leanings, formidable throb-n-punch, a foreboding weight and simmering aggression. In six songs, Mollusc managed to take all the good bits of the genre and serve them up on a platter, setting a standard that they would each end up building upon in their other groups – HABITS, and Hardata and Diecut, respectively.
The initial cassette EP packed these dystopian sounds into a concise package – one that has endured as other groups have appeared and started to make the genre their own. It Records is revisiting the release, remastering the tracks, putting them on vinyl and giving them a spit-shine that serves to enhance each track’s best features. From the unsettling paranoia of ‘Anxiety’, the piercing hypnotism of ‘Touch It Up’, the tightly coiled menace of ‘Hate’, the morose molasses pour of ‘No Hands’, the tortured beauty of ‘Relief’ and the frantic dance of ‘Fad’, the remastered EP manages to heighten the intensity across the board. Mollusc’s is a sound that permeates and influences, a sort of despondent beauty that still manages to stir up some fantastic mental imagery.
To mark the occasion, It Records is also pairing the release with a digital accompaniment – a series of remixes of the track ‘Relief’ from Mollusc’s contemporaries and friends. No matter your thoughts on remixes as a whole, these tracks act as a fitting tribute to a band that was so unreservedly confident in its approach and committed to furthering the genre. Remixes have been supplied by the likes of Raquel Solier (Various Asses), Nina Buchanan (Hardata), Fjorn Butler (Papaphilia), Andrea Blake (Vacuum, ASPS) and Ollie Olsen (Taipan Tiger Girls), and they do a great job of not only showcasing the talents of the remixing personnel, but also doing justice to the source material. Several of the remixes turn the track into danceable thrillers (Nina Buchanan and Fjorn Butler’s remixes, specifically), while some reduce the tempo, transforming ‘Relief’ into gorgeous, near hymnal ascents (the blissful submissions by Raquel Solier and Andrea Blake). Ollie’s submission ups the reverberation and plunges the song into dissonant noise, obliterating the track but infusing it with new vigour. Each remix offers something new, a testament to the malleability of the genre and the inspirational catalyst that the work of Mollusc is. Check it all out below:
Mollusc will be playing its final show to celebrate the re-release of the EP on Friday February 16 at The Tote (Upstairs), with supports from Spotting, Vacuum and Papaphilia. You can order the EP from the It Records Bandcamp page.
Banner image: Andrea Blake