Don’t Get Lemon, Hyper Hollow Heaven…
Texas heatwave trio Don’t Get Lemon, with bassist Bryan Walters, creates a swirling tension around electronic-pop and fears and anxiety about the future of our planet…
If modern life is a black comedy, then Don’t Get Lemon have crafted a sound fit to reflect off it. The Texas-based electronic music trio, best described in their own genre terms as “heatwave,” a more appropriate companion tag to the more familiar coldwave, are set to release debut album Hyper Hollow Heaven on March 26, 2022, via independent label à La Carte Records.
The LP is led by a string of singles: Boxing Day’s kaleidoscopic “Industrial (Amusement) Park (Revolution)”; February’s glossy synth ballad D.I.E.I.N.T.H.E.U.S.A.”; and mid-March’s kinetic table-setter and LP closer “Purple Hour Kingdom,” featuring guest vocals from Renay of Monochrome Lover. [See below for details on each single.]
Each single, alongside the five other tracks on the LP, further common lyrical themes that echo the fear, panic, and anxiety we’re forced to live with on a daily basis as our future grows inherently darker. To borrow a line from Adam Curtis’ 2016 BBC docu-film HyperNormalisation, regarding Patti Smith and how she experienced New York City in the ‘70s, the eight-song Hyper Hollow Heaven is “best experienced with a slight cool detachment.”
And in fact, Curtis’ efforts five years ago serve as a lightning rod of inspiration for Hyper Hollow Heaven, identifying our societal decay in late-stage capitalism and calm sense of widespread panic, and setting it to a glowing, rapid-fire collection of beats, synths, and tropical rhythmic patterns that belie the darker lyrical themes, echoing a creation of art through individual expression as the world’s problems close in on this lost digital age. The album, which includes recent single “Working Man’s Ballet,” an ode to legendary English footballer Alan Hudson, is the follow up to the band’s pair of EPs, 2020’s Forward Not Forgetting and 2019’s Grey Beach, as well a New Order tribute single with à La Carte labelmates True Faith that arrived earlier this year.
Throughout its runtime, from the vertical blast of opener “The Film Star’s Car” to aforementioned closer “Purple Hour Kingdom,” about our last moments on Earth, Hyper Hollow Heaven finds Don’t Get Lemon enhancing their sonic experimentation with a more complex rhythmic approach, all while fine-tuning the lyrical themes to echo what’s around us.
“It’s bigger and more anthemic at times, yet softer and more introspective at others,” the band says about the forthcoming LP. “With Hyper Hollow Heaven we were able to further expand on motifs and recurring themes that we had touched on before, but are now able to become more fleshed out in the album format, which is a big reason we wanted to release an album, instead of say constantly putting out singles, which is usually more beneficial for bands of our size.”
Those motifs and recurring themes center around a lot of what HyperNormalisation touched on, and while humor plays an underlying role throughout the LP, the ability to find beauty in the end times and have a laugh through our own personal vanity projects help embrace our modern way of living and our feelings about our place on, and the future of, our dying planet.
“Thinking about the reality we’re inevitably headed to can be debilitating, and the album is self-aware that art and individual creativity and freedom is helpless in changing anything,” the trio insist. “That change can only come through collective action, which is tough to commit to because it’s a form of self-sacrifice, and goes against our own self-preservation. Which is ironically what we need to survive on this planet. Some of the images created can be dark and surreal but there is also tongue-in-cheek black comedy and humor to the absurdity of it all and that in a twisted way there’s a seduction in seeing the end. The lyrics are conscious of the futility of art in saving us. That’s not to say art isn’t a reason for living or isn’t beautiful, but it in and of itself cannot bring wide-spread change.”
Part of the art carried within Hyper Hollow Heaven is buoyed by its physical product, another direct inspiration from HyperNormalisation. The LP will be issued on vinyl, cassette, and VHS tape, mirroring Adam Curtis’ use of archival footage to help visualize the narrative. Hyper Hollow Heaven is a statement to have and to hold, to hear and to view.
“The VHS is the definitive Hyper Hollow Heaven experience because we expand upon the lyrical content and provide visuals to reinforce the album’s motifs,” the band says. “Listening to albums can at times be passive, and you may detach yourself from the lyrics, but with an unrelenting visual you are forced to sit and digest what you are hearing and seeing.”
Combining the dark and light in their music is a delicate balance, but through Don’t Get Lemon’s hyper-textualized electronic-pop, where vocalist Austin Curtis’ baritone gravely spells relative doom and cheeky paranoia over upbeat, maximalist compositions from Nick Ross and undertow basslines and sweeping percussion from Bryan Walters, there’s a juxtaposition found in Don’t Get Lemon’s music that positions it away from their peers. Hence, the “heatwave” distinction.
“The music is light because we like pop music. We like fun songs,” they admit. “We don’t want to be labeled as just being a darkwave band or spooky post-punk, we actively try to create and carve out our own existence. The lyrics have dark and serious subject matter at times, but I don’t think they are deliberately dark or depressing. Yes, they can be tinged with a certain sadness, but there is also humor and beauty in the grotesque.”
For more information, visit online at dontgetlemon.bandcamp.com