My Aussie Halloween pick 2022: Perth-based duo, KLAUDE, deals with being ghosted on the new psych-pop single, “LMK”

Break-up is probably the no. 1 reason artists create.

Songs about ending relationships come in all shapes and forms. After all, no genre or style is immune to love because, as humans, we are programmed to feel. So it might seem like everything has already been said on that topic.

Yet, KLAUDE managed to craft an intriguing take on break-up that will leave you with an almost eerily feeling. But in a good way.

PART 123 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE / THE SILLY & GREEN PROJECT

Ghosting is a fairly new phenomenon in sociology. The term was coined sometime in the early 2000s. But it became a particularly visible problem in the last two decades.

In non-colloquial terms, it is described as “the practice of ending all communication and contact with another person without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said person”.

While it can apply to all forms of social interactions, it is mostly used in conjunction with romantic relationships. This is exactly the subject of KLAUDE’s new release.

I’m always keen on featuring more artists from WA (Western Australia), so I welcomed the Perth-based artists’ pitch with open arms. I believe their scene is fascinating if not a little looked down upon by Melbourne and Sydney. All the more reasons to shine a light on this psychedelic-tinged alt-pop outfit that explores themes of attachment, identity & yearning through a queer lens.

Despite the name that might suggest a solo act, KLAUDE is a duo composed of musos Codie Sundstrom & Willow Fearns.

Before forming their act, the two had already developed their respective careers in other projects. Interestingly, Sundstrom started as a folk artist to later front a queer alt-rock powerhouse, Tether. And Fearns honed their producer and multi-instrumentalist skills at MOANA, a heavy-experimental-psych-art-rock amalgam.

As often happens, they bonded over a vibe that didn’t quite fit the bands they were in at the time. They wanted to express the more modern stylings of pop, techno and R’n’B. So KLAUDE was brought to life as the two musos’ outlet to write “break-up music to dance to”.

The pair also calls their sound “dark, sad, sexy alt-pop”. They cite The Marías, Allie X, BANKS and Tame Impala as their influences (speaking of great Perth-based acts in the latter case).

And it looks like the appetite for well-crafted songs in their genre that talk about the most relatable topic of all, break-up, never dies. To the extent that they have been nominated for the 2022 WAM (West Australian Music) Song of the Year in the pop category for their first single, “LET YOU IN”.

“LMK” is the second release from an upcoming 5-song EP. It’s the perfect soundtrack to any (queer) break-up. And how ingenious is its near-Halloween release date, the 25th of October? Rarely do songs sound (and look) so perfectly ghostly for the occasion 😉

It honestly gave me chills when I heard it the first time. Because there’s a slight creepiness in how it’s arranged, sonically. And we have the rich synth layers, smooth R&B-style hooks and kinetic beats to thank for that.

But I also love how creatively the duo plays with various effects, making the vocals sound more or less distant as if they were coming from different dimensions. That’s maybe why “LMK” transports me to the Stranger Things‘ main theme in some of its parts as well.

The lyrics only add to the supernatural vibe the song instantly evokes.

Overall, the story is a deep dive into the complexities of a codependent relationship as it breaks apart. It deals with the confusing disparity between being treated like a secret addiction by someone before they disappear into thin air. According to KLAUDE, “It’s bad enough having completely incompatible attachment styles… What’s worse is questioning whether your relationship even really existed if you were always kept ‘on the low’.”

Going through the whole spectrum of feelings, the single talks about immersive intoxication, yearning, frustration, denial and a disorienting state of withdrawal. There are even indications of momentarily flirting with the idea of being fine on their own (but not being quite there yet). So I’m pretty sure any psychologist would happily break the song down in their class as a textbook example of all stages of loss.

Listening to the story unfold, you can immediately tell that Sundstrom is a seasoned songwriter who – this time – has incorporated astrology into the narrative. Take this excerpt, for instance:

“Can’t deny it / I’m on a spiral

I should just lay here / But I’ll go down with a fight

Scorpio placements / I should be patient

Trippin’ over the pavement / While I’m losing my mind.”

Apart from the song itself, I’m loving the artwork as well. It’s a testament to how a simple concept, with a few lighting tricks, can play to the release’s advantage and flawlessly match the track’s mood.

No fancy graphic concept worth thousands of dollars was needed to convey the message here. Since the visual aspect is becoming exponentially important in the music’s reception these days, KLAUDE should also be commended for that.

And not that ghosting is a good thing. But in the context of this track’s spooky vibe purposefully coinciding with the upcoming American holiday, I’m definitely adding it to my Halloween playlist this year. You should, too.


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