Words: James Frostick
Following quickly on the heels of debut single ‘Perilous Woman’, emerging Naarm/Melbourne trio Rain Dogs unveils a second single from its forthcoming self-titled EP – out soon via .jpeg Artefacts. ‘Catacomb Eyes’ is a pulse-quickening slice of atmospheric synth-pop – its understated urgency showcasing a talent for setting mood and mindset.
Tom Murchie is an expert at creating a vibe. Under the monikers Tuscan Ruins and Runsthevoodoodown, Tom has, in the past, crafted delicate and engrossing ambient and electronic soundscapes, (some of which was described on this site by Doug Wallen as having a “consistent feeling of wistful reflection and crumbling natural grandeur”). As part of avant-garde electronic trio Rain Dogs, Tom (alongside bandmates Luke and Jushung – who also perform in post-punk crew Bollard) is reining in some of his compositional impulses to create music that is more direct, yet still imbued with a lush sonic disposition. The group is putting the final touches on its self-titled EP, offering tantalising tasters in the form of some stellar singles. Debut track ‘Perilous Woman’ dropped about a month ago, which means it’s time for another. Here’s ‘Catacomb Eyes’ – a track that reaffirms the trio’s ability to apply energetic verve to a hypnotic undercurrent.
Where ‘Perilous Woman’ boasted a tempered moonlit slink, the tempo on ‘Catacomb Eyes’ is more of a breathless scurry, like a fevered chase through foggy streets under cloudy skies. An ethereal synth warble and the odd ghostly guitar peal cut through to the bone like chilly gusts, while the snappy rat-a-tat of the programmed drums and a seriously sultry bass pluck keep’s the brisk momentum on point. Lending some extra gravitas to the mix is Tom’s lower-register croon, which softly relays a tale of ensorcellment via some cryptic lyrics. I figure the titular catacomb eyes refer to eyes you can get lost in – bewitching peepers that spellbind, the kind of gaze that compels you to follow and leaves you “stuck on the beach in the middle of winter“. Although they’ve only got two songs to their name thus far, Rain Dogs have struck a sublime balance between aesthetics and substance – an effortlessly slick amalgamation of ambience and drive. This is music that is easy to immerse one’s self within, which makes me all the more keen for the EP, which will be out soon via .jpeg Artefacts.