Words: James Frostick
Band image: Louis Oliver Roach
Melbourne two-piece outfit Mystery Guest are building momentum ahead of the release of their debut album Octagon City with new single ‘The Red Dance’ – a piece of understated-yet-hypnotic club-pop rhythm all about shedding inhibitions and giving yourself over to the act of dance, free of ego, identity and name.
I’ve never been one for dancing. I can do the side-to-side shuffle or head bop as good as, or better than, anybody – but when it comes to cutting shapes I’m a lost cause. If I had to chalk up my lack of groove to anything, I’d probably say it’s chiefly a mechanical deficiency – I don’t know any moves, my body feels weird when I try to imitate them and I’ve never given myself the opportunity to practice. Second, though, is my inability to unshackle myself from restrictive self-conscious thought processes – a fear of being seen, judged and mocked once I give myself over to the beat. I know in my core that issue two can overcome issue one, but for me it’s the higher hurdle to conquer. ‘The Red Dance’, the new track from Melbourne’s Mystery Guest is all about finding that private space within yourself – a secret dimension hidden within reality – that gives you the freedom to move without worry, to be a part of the greater whole without feeling like you’re the wrong piece of the puzzle trying to fit in.
The two-piece, comprised of Pat Telfer (Bitch Prefect, Old Mate) and Caitlyn Lesiuk (Peak Twins, Elizabeth) have been around since 2018, crafting slinky and velvety dance numbers without frippery. There’s an economy of sound at play across most of their work, a thrifty use of sounds that prevent Mystery Guest’s tracks as coming across as overwrought – as if making the songs is instinctual, and the two create at ease. ‘The Red Dance’ makes use of elastic bass-y bops, bubbling conga beats, soft xylophone plinks and glinting synth progressions to great effect, buoying Caitlyn’s vocals as she takes us by the hand and leads us to the dance floor. She urges us to disassociate – from the self and from our surrounds – and become a pure embodiment of the beat. Once we give ourselves over, we become a conduit of groove and an extension of rhythm – we become close with the other nameless participants and forge a bond through shared anonymity. All that remains here is movement – we exist in a realm powered by uninhibited expression. That’s the place I’m now seeking whenever I get the urge to dance.
Listen to ‘The Red Dance’ below, and marvel at the accompanying visuals crafted by Geoffrey O’Connor:
Mystery Guest’s debut album Octagon City will be out soon through Tenth Court Records.