Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Isabella Capizio, clothing by SÜK Workwear
Several years on from her debut 2016 EP Ur Future Is Bright, Melbourne electro-pop artist EN.V has returned with some new music. ‘Neon Cowboy’ is a roomy and irresistible piece of country-tinged dance – the mix of genres is less an ironic aesthetic choice, and more a melding of influences, namely the artist’s rural upbringing and adoration for contemporary dance pop.
When I think of Australia’s rural interior, I think of space. Wide, flat lands that stretch endlessly under cloudless blue skies, kilometres of undulating plains and sparse wildlife – a setting that is as ruggedly beautiful as it is uncompromising. Although there is an abundance of room in the outback, life in the heartland can also be incredibly suffocating, especially when compared to Australia’s coastal metropolitan centres. Speaking generally, it’s not uncommon for young folk to make for the coast to seek education and greater career opportunities, though it is rare to see those same folks return to their rural home. The allure of the big smoke isn’t just about education, either – many seek respite from their homeland’s constricting conservative worldview, uprooting themselves in hopes of finding a place among a new community, one filled with like-minded individuals.
EN.V – the dance-pop project of multi-disciplinary Melbourne-based artist Natasha Vomit (Cheap Present, GlamouRatz, The Angel and Baby Chain) – has just released a new track that draws upon her own formative years and rural upbringing, before she became a constant figure in Melbourne’s punk and dance scenes. From what my ears tell me, ‘Neon Cowboy’ doesn’t look back on those years with any sort of discernible disdain, instead there’s a sprinkling of nostalgia for those wide, empty landscapes and the music that coloured her early listening experiences. To the sound of whip cracks, seared guitars, playful synths and a snappy danceable beat, we’re propelled along dusty highways, past sheep-shearing sheds, bent gum trees and small sun-scorched towns. The palette of sounds on display here is less muscular and dark than some of the tracks on EN.V’s previous EP Ur Future Is Bright, but no less hypnotic. It’s like we accidentally stumbled on EN.V mid daydream – a brief yearning for the simplicity of youth, before the pull of the city became undeniable.
‘Neon Cowboy’ was commissioned for a runway show in collaboration with SÜK Workwear – a Melbourne-based ethical workwear label for all bodies – though the track will also reportedly feature on a new EN.V record, released through DERO Arcade in the near future.