Words: James Frostick

With a new full-length album primed and ready to drop at the end of April, Bulanaming/Marrickville downer-rock four-piece Mope City begin to whir and crank into gear. To build anticipation for the release, the group is whetting appetites with a somewhat unusual taster – a limited-edition four-track cassette EP containing first single ‘Rocket Surgery’ and three bonus tracks. ‘Rocket Surgery’ sets a suitably dour tone, pairing claustrophobic creep and browbeating fuzz with lashings of disaffected ideation.

It’s only been just over two years between drinks (albums) for Mope City, but a lot has happened in that timespan. Within The Walls – the name of the group’s forthcoming record – reads ominously like a COVID-era lockdown piece, and that’s likely largely (though not entirely) what it is. One imagines that the shut-in lifestyle of lockdown suits Mope City’s plodding skin-and-bone aesthetic (all  downcast strum and odd moments of stir-crazy bedlam) but the first glimpse of new material bears evidence of a more forceful approach. ‘Rocket Surgery’ – Within The Walls‘ lead single, which also features on its own cassette EP that’s out today via Tenth Court – oscillates between the band’s familiar hushed murmurings and blunt torrents of disorder. It’s as if the group initially attempted to communicate without upsetting the stillness they inhabit, but instead end up looking to fill it and override it completely.

Matthew Neville and Amaya Lang’s dispirited vocals are buffeted along by the blast of the instrumentation, maintaining a resolute yet bummed-out lethargy as the track goes haywire and comes apart at the seams. Their lyrics speak to a disconnect – a communication failure causing a schism between two halves. Passages hint at conflicting personalities, a resignation that people are often at odds, some things aren’t worth the effort of salvaging and coming to terms with all of the above isn’t an overly complicated process. As Matt and Amaya utter hypnotically as the bluster picks up intensity, “the system is random“. The quicker you accept that, the easier coming to terms with life’s bullshit becomes. Listen here:

Mope City’s ‘Rocket Surgery’ is out today on a limited-edition cassette, available via Tenth Court. Within The Walls will arrive on April 30 – you can pre-order a vinyl copy now via the group’s Bandcamp.