Listen: HTRK – ‘Mentions’

Words: James Frostick

Ethereal duo HTRK return to the public consciousness with new single Drama. The single’s A-side track, ‘Mentions’, examines interpersonal connections in the age of social media, and how our desires and emotions are morphed by force of this technology.

It’s funny how much of our personal worth we base on our social media presence. I’m not going to harp on about the perils of the digital age (more educated folks have done so ad nauseam), but the titillating thrill of getting that blip of attention (whether it be a like, comment or mention) can give the same rush as a physical touch. This disconnection between the virtual and the physical forms a core component of the sentiments behind HTRK’s new track ‘Mentions’, which features on the duo’s fresh single Drama. It’s been a spell since we heard from the dreamy duo. Previous effort – 2014’s Psychic 9-5 Club – still reverberates today, so to say I’m enthusiastic to hear new noise would be to undersell my desires.

The track, largely skeletal and subdued, features HTRK’s minimalist patter and Nigel Yang’s pitch perfect guitar plucks, which provide a ghostly platform for Jonnine Standish to muse on and dissect her unnatural dependence on incorporeal gratification.

The touch of your hand to my face / and the way that that you’re talking softly / it’s not enough attention for me

That kind of says it all really. Jonnine shies away from face-to-face intimacy, as, in her mind, it doesn’t offer the same thrill as digital engagement. In her words, she’s “passing up on the real stuff, it’s not physical enough.” Whether this is an app reliance gone wrong or a commentary on our generation’s obsession with the click, share and follow, ‘Mentions’ offers food for thought. It makes me think about my own habits – the curated world I choose to immerse myself in online and what I deem to be desirable in this world. A like from a crush makes the heart flutter, as though in that moment it is safe to imagine the possibilities. Imagination blossoms as fiction becomes more desirable than reality. Reality, as always, is out of our control.

Drama will be out on July 6 on Mistletone Records via Inertia. I hear a new album is in the works. This morsel is a suitable appetiser. HTRK will be launching Drama with a one-off show at The Night Cat on the same night, with support from Moopie.