Words: James Frostick
Band image: Eden Meure
Cover art: Amber Perez-Wright
Today marks the release of If You’re Cold They’re Cold, the debut album from Tasmanian group Dolphin. To celebrate the release, the band (which is comprised of members of The Foxy Morons and Slag Queens) is sharing the visual accompaniment to lead single ‘Wine’ – a downcast lo-fi jam that hints at an inner unhappiness and the unhealthy coping mechanisms we often rely on to persevere.
There’s something about unadulterated ramshackle guitar’n’drum compositions that really appeals to me. Perhaps it’s the lack of pretence or artifice – or the inability to hide behind tone and fidelity – that helps create a humble tumble-down appeal. I don’t really know what quality makes it so charming, but Dolphin has it in spades. The group features Amber Perez-Wright, Celeste McFarlane, Susie Adkins and Caitlin Fargher – all of which are spread out across Nipaluna/Hobart, Launceston and Kettering but, when together, create remarkable music built on a foundation of catharsis. The group performs a kind of careworn indie that’s artfully simple and earnest, a threadbare tenderness and less-is-more aesthetic that renders anger, vulnerability, pain and sadness in sharp detail. Placing emotion above technical proficiency while still making easy listens is a rare talent. Dolphin’s songs are the kind of tracks that sound as if you’re hearing them performed in bedrooms or living rooms on drizzly days – worn in and familiar, just like the emotions and stories contained within each musical moment. They’re putting a new album out today and it’s great from beginning to end, but at this moment I’m focusing on just one song – it’s called ‘Wine’ and it’s particularly engaging.
A wilted guitar twang, a soft percussive crash and Amber’s dispirited vocals form main elements of ‘Wine’, a simple composition that holds an understated power. The track managed to crawl under my skin rather quickly, finding the weak spots in my defences, allowing the sentiments to seep in. Lyrically, I catch a sense of two souls in close proximity but in different headspaces, one seeking more than the other can deliver. There’s a downcast realisation of the disconnect at play, the discrepancy between expectation and actualisation and an inability to meet in the middle (“You’re like a dog, you’re always chasing / but my hands will never be full“). As the song shambles on, we’re privy to the fomenting tide of depression and the chosen coping mechanism (“Sink a bit deeper with every step I take, I will drown my head in wine“), not a long-term solution by any stretch, but one that washes away the melancholy of the now.
Watch the video for ‘Wine’ below: