Sydney dreampop duo Egoism are well schooled in 90’s shoegaze.
“It’s time to change the word ‘adolescence’,” they tweeted recently, “to ‘when you finally get over your emo phase and start listening to shoegaze’.”
Friends from childhood, Scout Eastment and Olive Rush discovered how to write songs together, running melodies and lyrics past each other on the school bus. They immersed themselves in 90’s shoegaze while slowly developing their sound and mixing in a more 21st century indie-pop sensibility, with the emphasis firmly on the pop side: their new self-produced five-track EP ‘On Our Minds’ is full of soaring melodies and killer hooks.
The EP was written, recorded and produced by the duo in their bedrooms and funded by the Triple J Level Up grant, a fantastic programme in Australia that’s done so much to support independent musicians during the pandemic.
The follow-up to 2017’s ‘It’s Wearing Off’ EP, ‘On Our Minds’ is a huge progression.
At the heart of the Egoism sound are the dual lead vocals of Eastment and Rush. As much as the pedal-driven guitars that crashed and burned across the 90’s shoegaze scene, dual lead vocals have always been a powerful element of the shoegaze/dreampop sound. Think Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine; Andy Bell and Mark Gardner from Ride; Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson from Lush.
The vocals in ‘On Our Minds’ continue this tradition, crashing and soaring across the five tracks. At times they’re doubled up or may have been fed through a synth; at others they’re fragile and melodic. The result is a swooning vocal sound that perfectly reflects the rush of emotions around love and relationships in the songs.
‘What Are We Doing?’ juxtaposes sugar-sweet melodies and My Bloody Valentine-esqe tremelo guitar bends with sobering lyrics on mental health. ‘You You’ and ‘Here’s The Thing’ dive head-first into the adrenaline rush of new love.
‘Never Leave’ and ‘Happy’, meanwhile, are the heaviest sounding tracks on the EP. ‘Never Leave’ is soaked in delay and overdrive guitar, with synth-driven, Slowdive-effect backing vocals. ‘Happy’ is a perfect, euphoric ending.
‘On Our Minds’ is the result of a band maturing slowly, having the time and space to develop and craft their songwriting and their sound.