Words: James Frostick
Band image: Kalindy Williams

Melbourne/Naarm-based trio Double Vanity recently dropped ‘Escalator’ – the second track from its forthcoming length album (out later this year via Psychic Hysteria). A lush and languid effort, ‘Escalator’ is an ode to life’s relentless upward trajectory and a reminder to stop and smell the roses once in a while. 

Soft velvet illuminated by candlelight. Purple clouds sliding softly across a sunset-orange sky. Leaves bending and shifting with the wind. These are images that come to mind when I listen to Double Vanity’s new single ‘Escalator’. The band (which boasts members of Plaster of Paris, Porcelain, Bracode and Dumb Whales) has a sound is hard to encapsulate in a the usual genre-bound descriptors, which is why scenes came to mind initially. If I had to break it down, I’d say Double Vanity create a potpourri of dream-pop, ambient sound, and melodic post-punk, but with a tousled new-wave glamour that makes the band’s sound feel both contemporary and nostalgic. On ‘Escalator’ specifically, there’s a feeling of plaintive yearning, but one softened as though seen through a vaseline-coated lens. You’d think such a mixture would result in an overly syrupy mess, but Double Vanity makes it feel weightless – I could drink it in endlessly. The group call it ‘Airportwave’, and I concede that their music boasts a wistful desire for escape and the blood-rushing thrill of the possibility it presents.

‘Escalator’ makes my heart feel heavy – like I’ve lost something intangible but crucial. Beneath the soft guitar shimmer and translucent synth hum sits an emotional core crouched in sentimental reflection. The trio reflects on simpler times, closing their eyes and envisioning a period where things weren’t complicated. They’re ascending an escalator through life like all of us are – passively taking everything in and rarely lingering in the moment, too caught up in the grind. While there’s no getting off the escalator, Double Vanity can’t help back and look at what they passed and this causes them to reflect. As the event horizon of the escalator’s apex comes closer to view, perhaps we’ll regret constantly craning our necks upward to see what’s coming. Maybe we should be looking around us to enjoy what we have right now – I think that’s what Double Vanity is trying to say, anyway.

Double Vanity will be sharing the visuals for ‘Escalator’ as part of the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival (in collaboration with The Burrow Underground) on Saturday June 20. The video concept was created by performance artist and painter Billi Lime and New York-based filmmaker Stephanie Gould, You can watch the video via Double Vanity’s Facebook at 7:30 pm sharp. Keep your eyes peeled for a Double Vanity album later this year, dropping via Psychic Hysteria