Words: James Frostick
Band image: James Morris
Ever-entertaining Perth/Boorloo three-piece Hideous Sun Demon are making a racket of late – creating new music in anticipation of a to-be-announced release later this year. On Thursday the crew will officially drop a fresh single called ‘Distractions’, but we’ve got the pleasure of giving it the first spin today. Hideous Sun Demon have pivoted from the psych-fuzz of their earlier releases, crafting a gripping post-punk churner that explores our constant need for a diversion from life’s underwhelming reality, especially after the methods we use to offset it have lost their efficacy.
Six months into a pandemic and most of us could probably use a distraction from the grim set of affairs we’re currently enduring – spiralling statistics, abhorrent injustices and the sense of guilt and powerlessness that comes with being idle (not wholly by choice). To be fair, things weren’t all that much better before COVID-19 – just substitute our work-from-home life for the mundanity of the nine-to-five rat race and you’re close. Our vices were (and still are) largely employed to buck the monotony of the grind or to ensure our moods don’t drip below a certain threshold. While doing fun things to stop focusing on our grim reality is therapeutic, sometimes the constant craving for distraction is a hindrance to positive change. The crew behind Hideous Sun Demon are clearly sick of picking at their skin from boredom – they’re being proactive by chipping away at some new gear they’re getting ready to share. ‘Distractions’ is a new scorcher plucked from a forthcoming release from the band, which will likely also boast ‘Gimmicks’ – the sprightly and malleable punk number that was released back in March and more recently featured on Berlin’s Baby Satan Records compilation.
While ‘Gimmicks’ was a quick-steppin’ and slippery number, ‘Distractions’ is a decidedly more muscular piece of sound – aggressive, vigorous and propulsive with a heightened fidelity that adds to the overall density. The aural centrepiece is the weighty riff that blows the hair back and reminds me a little bit of the blistering sonics of Constant Mongrel and Dogging-era Low Life. Giving a brief respite from the driving discord is an unsettling experimental interlude underpinned by clipped robotic Roland TR-707 percussion and hypnotic spoken-word passages. Soon after the volume is dialled up again and the riff returns, pushing us over and holding us on the floor while the band rages and destroys our surroundings. All the while vocalist Vincent Buchanan-Simpson (who also creates under the name Terrible Signal) laments the meaningless cycle he’s trapped in – the ideas that never gain traction, love and lust losing attraction, swinging about just to get a reaction. Half-way through the piece Vincent asks us (or himself) “Do you ever wonder / wonder what it’s for?” Makes you think, really. What are we working towards? What are we distracting ourselves from? How long can we keep this going? As we scramble to find meaning in a world collapsing around us, these question only become more pertinent by the day. Listen to ‘Distractions’ here: