Words: James Frostick
Artist image: Toto Vivian
Sydney-based multi-instrumentalist Tom Crandles is deepening the catalogue of his new songwriting endeavour Prudence, following up last year’s Major Tom EP with new track ‘Heart Sways’. The song is being released today with eye-catching visuals by McLean Stephenson – adding a vivid layer to Prudence’s textured soundscapes.
If anyone can assemble a rich and complex mosaic of sound with ease, it’s Tom Crandles. The sonic architect behind ecstatic shoegraze project COLOURS and beloved psychedelic-pop duo Au.Ra (alongside Tim Jenkins), has spent nearly a decade meticulously crafting songs that expand infinitely outwards and impossibly deep – vast oceans of sound boasting ripples of prismatic colour. Both of Tom’s previous projects afforded him the opportunity to traverse these expanses, relaying their shimmering beauty and wondrous depths. Tom’s new project Prudence follows in this pristine sonic lineage, but grounds the music with a greater focus on simplicity and storytelling. It’s as if Tom has taken everything he’s learned and honed it to a sharp point, using to underline his thoughts instead of getting lost in them. Last year’s Major Tom EP was a masterful collection of pop that carried both a lightness of sound and a weightiness in regards to subject matter, making for a balanced release that rewarded multiple listens. Tom’s following up this effort with ‘Heart Sways’, a new single saturated in heady emotion that sees Tom backed in the studio by a full band consisting of Aleesha Dibbs (Dive Bell), Kat Harley (Mezko, The Laurels) and Steve West (Obscura Hail).
On the surface, ‘Heart Sways’ is a gorgeous bit of dream pop – all iridescent strum, glimmering synthetic flourishes and perfumed percussion. There’s a subtle kinetic energy that gives the song a comfortable tingle, a kind of positive pressure that fills up the crevices of the brain and smoothes things out. The track’s not all colour and cushion, though – there’s a realness in the lyrics that paints a more pained picture. Vocal snippets shine a light on a bruised relationship at the heart of the song – silhouettes of two souls wrapped in gauze, beholden to the pull of impulse and emotion. Here, the titular ‘heart sways’ are unpredictable movements based on intangible whims, sometimes loving, other times cruel – two bodies trapped in close orbit, with cycles wielding influence on the tides of the mind. Throughout, Tom drops nuggets of weary elucidation – that he doesn’t want to feel, he’s become numb to things, that he dreams of getting clean from this torturous partnership. He knows that the “moods that swing with the moon” are bringing him down and, as fun as this unpredictability was once, his heart is now guarded to ebbs and flows of love, becoming cruel and distant in his own way. As caresses turn to scratches, we as listeners can only sink further into the middle, already ensnared by the captivating sounds that envelop the conflict.
Listen to ‘Heart Sways’ by Prudence (and watch the clip crafted by McLean Stephenson) below: