We are very honoured to bring you an exclusive look at the new video for the sweeping, beautiful new track ‘The Black Bull’ by Melbourne-based songwriter Sainthill (the moniker of Tom Larkey), ahead of the release tomorrow.
‘The Black Bull’ is a shimmering melancholy track with guitars that glitter and sparkle in the firmament like a constellation. Sainthill’s vocals have a certain whimsy about them – soft and expressive, imbued with a thread of yearning with delicate harmonies like a golden filigree at the edges. Think of a Simon and Garfunkel luminosity. The chorus is expansive and celestial, the interweaving piano tinkles delicately in between.
Larkey says of the track:
‘The Black Bull’ is a fairly up tempo song with pulsing bass and shoegaze elements like a mega-reverbed tremolo picking in the chorus. Also, I was learning to play So. Central Rain by R.E.M. and realised I’d lifted half the chord progression quite by accident! The origin of the song, like others on the album, begins in the hundreds of dream journal entries I have kept over the years that have an exceptional amount of animal appearances, and these were the frameworks for lyrical narratives. The Black Bull takes a potentially obvious metaphor (a black animal as depression) and then tells the story of someone taking matters into their own hands – in this case to train as a matador and overcome the bull (as grotesque as bullfighting is).
The lush instrumentation certainly recalls a loving mix of REM and shoegaze bands such as Lush or Slowdive. The whimsy continues in the video, directed by Larkey, where Sainthill battles a protagonist with multiple personalities. He says:
There are three characters in the clip: Blue Guy, Red Guy, and The Black Bull. The Blue Guy is the part of us that is optimistic, curious, but struggling. The Red Guy is our inner strength, and he essentially saves the day – by way of a good old fashioned sword fight with stick.. The Black Bull is the obstacle to overcome. At first mysterious, frightening, oppressive, but ultimately something that can be made peace with.
There is a gentle pastoral ambience that matches the dream pop delivery as well as a self-deprecatory sense of humour threaded throughout:
This is gorgeous stuff indeed. ‘The Black Bull’ is out tomorrow and will be available to download and stream here.
The track is off Sainthill’s forthcoming album ‘Dream Animal’ set for release on Friday, 1 March. Larkey says of the album:
I dream a lot, and I have hundreds of dream journal entries. I noticed an exceptional (or perhaps disturbing?) amount of animal appearances, and these encounters became the basis for metaphorical stories of lost cats, vulnerable horses, and sinister bulls. Chiming guitars and swirling keys ebb and flow,
while sprightly rhythms carry simple yet elegant melodies Each song features some sort of narrative (mostly including animals), and these narratives are frameworks for moralistic tales and reflections on the subconscious. The themes include love, loss and renewal, romantic elusion, depression, dream symbols, setting things free, looking after the planet, and music-making itself.
Given the evidence of this single, there is much to look forward to from this Hobart-born, Melbourne based artist.
Feature Photograph: Samuel Hordern