Single Reviews: 31 October 2023: Font, Deadset, Hanna Emilie, Olivia Belli, 44 Ardent


Photo by Efe Ersoy

Font - It


Austinites Font unleashes a frenetic and dark amalgamation of rhythmic anomalies, feedback, and tortured vocals feigning indifference on their recent single "It". Composed of members Thom Waddill, Jack Owens, Anthony Lawrence, Roman Parnell, and Logan Wagner, Font only started playing shows in early 2022, yet their highly stylized playing already comes across as confident and controlled. Nightmarish in quality, the tense energy of "It" builds up but never releases. Instead, it leans into its pronounced sense of depravity, a sinisterly simple disco beat marshalling histrionic vocals that wail over guitars twisted with distortion. "It" has elements of Gilla Band, Gazelle Twin, and Scott Walker and is, for all intent and purposes, safely creative. Its obscurity may not make it the most memorable "song" you're likely to hear all week, but "It" is a danceable jolt to the system.

Deadset - Bleak 


Is it better to face the uncomfortable truths of life or to live with rose-coloured glasses firmly affixed to our eyes? Investigating what's behind the illusion of modern life, UK upstarts Deadset employ a simultaneously hard-hitting and atmospheric brand of post-punk on their recent single, "Bleak". Life's more grim recesses are unearthed with gusto and passion, producing a sense of catharsis on this track that doesn't shy away from the hard truths of late-stage capitalism, addiction, and the pains of being aware of it all. Composed of guitarists and writers James Massey and Sam Mellors, bassist Adam Arnold, and drummer Rio Campbell, Deadset muses on modern life's more depressing aspects with an underlying dedication to play. While this attitude come off a tad juvenile, there's a youthful desire for more that gives this song its unique, somewhat snarky, ultimately galvanizing energy.  

Hanna Emilie - TOTGA

indie pop

Norweigan alt-pop artist Hanna Emilie lends her candy-sweet pop melodies grit and attitude via textured production and heartfelt vocals on her recent single "TOTGA". Even though this song is a cliche wrapped in a cliche, with Emilie expressing age-old lovelorn emotions of heartache via accessible hooks, there's a sharpness to her delivery and arrangements that give this song a likeable and original feeling. At just over 2 minutes, its length cleverly compromised for immediacy, "TOTGA" might be a song about "the one that got away", but has more nuanced energies to offer in its sincerity and melodically-leaning construction. 

Olivia Belli - Amber Maze

modern classical

The deceptively straightforward piano rhythms of Olivia Belli's new single, "Amber Maze", are loaded with emotional undertones. Before you know it, the spiderweb of mile-a-minute notes has lured you into its intoxicating glue while pulling your heartstrings. Despite consisting solely of acoustic piano, there's an otherworldly aspect to "Amber Maze", and the consistent arpeggios are both experimental and accessible, sharply modern, and lead the listener through a proverbial maze of waveringly touching sentiments. 

44 Ardent - evergreen


Beginning with a simple piano line, "evergreen" by anonymous Australian producer 44 Ardent blossoms into a lively and fresh splice of downtempo electronica. Clean production assures this track is plain-sailing and audience-pleasing throughout; the repetitious piano and bass lines, loud processed drums, and various sonic stammers place it on the safer side of the lo-fi study beats spectrum. However, there's also an excitingly visual quality to the tapestried arrangements and colourful production that make the track suitable for both passive and active listening.