Words: James Frostick
Band image: Charlie Hillhouse
Frosty synth-pop three-piece 100% has awoken from an elongated hibernation period with new sounds to share. Last week the Naarm and Meanjin-based group released ‘Abandon’, a composition imbued with the group’s signature coolly detached atmospherics and operatic, moonlight-clothed glamour. It preludes the release of the trio’s debut album, Clear Visions, which will be released later this year via esteemed underground hit factory It Records.
The only thing more frisson-inducing than the actual music of 100% is the news that 100% is back with more music. It’s been a few years between martinis for the triumvirate of Lena Molnar (Bloodletter), Grace Stevenson (Rebel Yell) and Chloe Blackwood (Cannon). I think the last official offering the group gave the world was 2018’s ‘New All’ single – a dissonant club-indebted thumper that left us all sweaty and breathing heavy. No doubt being divided by state lines and the chaotic lockdown-stymied nature of the past couple of years has contributed to delays in the release of group’s follow-up output, but now – with a new chunk of 100%-stamped ice freshly plopped into our chalice – things seem okay once more.
‘Abandon’ is the first taste of the trio’s new collection of music, bookending a period of dormancy and heralding the start of an exciting stage of creativity. The track is a slick synth-heavy groover, with robotically crisp percussive pop-smack anchoring duelling keyboard progressions – one hauntingly saturnine, the other glossily active. Lena’s melodious vocals are the beating organic heart to 100%’s synthetic makeup. Every utterance is robust and emotional and urgent, a human element juxtaposed against the icy remoteness of the music. Thematically I get a sense Lena speaks of breaking free of inhibitions, and abandonment of the things holding her (and us) back with lyrics like, “put to test / what you want / give your best“. I sensed something similar when I listened back to ‘New All’ (“you can do what you want / you can leave it behind / if it’s holding you down“), so, to my comprehension, it sounds like the process of personal evolution is ongoing. When Lena urges us to “lose control / you want it, you know it / just let go“, I want to – more than anything else.
Listen to ‘Abandon’ below, or click here to check out the accompanying clip crafted by Charlie Hillhouse.