It’s otherworldly and woozy, the Melbourne outfit move with a spooky, off-kilter new groove.
Words: Brad Harris | Photo: Oscar O’Shea
In Octavia E. Butler’s short story ‘Amnesty’, the real perpetrators are revealed to be the humans, not the invading alien hive mind species that the protagonist refers to as ‘Communities’. Reading Tropical Fuck Storm’s press release for latest single New Romeo Agent, it’s easy to understand why the story struck such a chord with them that they decided to base their latest release in its universe.
Where previous releases have seen them detailing the unsavoury aspects of internet and political culture, here they channel the feminine energy of Butler’s work into something more delightfully melodic. Erica Dunn takes over on vocals, explaining that the story follows directly after Amnesty about an undercover human and a Community that “connect in an intimate new language” and decide to elope. We glimpse “an oasis of hope in defiance of the violence and backstabbery of their masters… a tropical island of romance in an icy sea devoid of solar warmth. We look back on the spinning wheel of progress and feel that all the desperation, despair and heartache of the past could finally be worth it for this moment, a conquest of love! A clock striking for a new age!”
Unfortunately, they get murdered. Just as apt as the song title with is invocation of forbidden love, is the seedy, Mos Eisley style video that accompanies the track, directed by Oscar O’Shea. Beyond the simple visual connection, the music itself moves in a spooky, off-kilter, alien way. It’s how I imagined the music in that cantina really should have sounded: less like swing jazz and more disorienting, difficult-to-pin-down melodies and sounds dropping in and out. It’s otherworldly and woozy in a way that would make not just Octavia Butler proud, but Charles Mingus and Tom Waits too.