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Upbeat, downtrodden, creatively calculated and a surprisingly welcome dichotomy–Sleepwalker, the debut single from Sydney synthwave duo JUNO, perfectly calibrates dark sentiments with an anthemic intention, and provides both the feel-good beats we needed to hear and a shameless understanding of issues that often get swept under the rug.
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Let’s be frank–on first spin you’ll be able to tell that this debut release deals with the complexities of having a mental illness, the lyrics very honestly grappling suicidal thoughts. And yet JUNO provides interestingly optimistic and thoughtful overtones thanks to the vibrant textures of synthesised and clean vocalisations, simple lyrics, static drum lines and a wailing, free running guitar solo that closes out the track in a whirlwind of noise that seems to mimic the frenzy that comes with having intrusive thoughts.
The lyrics are dark, delving into seemingly hallucinogenic episodes–the music (and accompanying video) in a state of flux just as one’s mental state can be. But JUNO quickly establish themselves as masters of balance, being able to address the dreary and couple it with fresh sonic ideas.
A juxtaposition of experience and creativity if there ever was one, but JUNO make it work.
The repetitive nature of the lyrics screams unity–when it comes to mental illness, Sleepwalker seems to say, you are not alone in how you are feeling and what you are experiencing. The song flows just as freely as the intrusive thoughts or episodic panics that can be associated with mental illness do.
A juxtaposition of experience and creativity if there ever was one, but JUNO make it work. This duo addresses some often difficulty discussed topics by providing a sense of escapism and relief in their cleverly crafted sound that though ultimately dark, glimmers with hope.
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