Juanita Stein has impressive form – she was part of Sydney band Howling Bells, a band that achieved success both in its home country and in the UK with its 2006 self-titled album. Now residing in Brighton in the UK, she is set to release her third post-Howling Bells solo album,’Snapshot’, on 2 October 2020 through Nude Records and has released a video to the title track.
The song deals with themes of loss and memories that followed the death of Stein’s father:
It feels fundamental to understanding the devastation and eerie silence thrust upon us after his sudden death. It was a daunting task to sum up the life of one man such as my father. He was endlessly inspiring, charming, deeply talented and passionately spiritual. He admirably, and at times frustratingly, carried the torch for his own musical career until the very end.
‘Snapshot’ is a sleek and haunting track with a repeated refrain:
We’re only stardust, a moment in time We’re only stardust, words on a page
Stein eloquently and with great economy captures the temporality of existence which is yet leavened by the thought that we remain eternal, made as we are, from the dust that comes from the universe, and through our own creativity.
Her singing – ululating at times which recollects an almost animalistic expression of grief – are mystical as they glide over the cyclical structure bubbling underneath. The track features her brother, Joel Stein, also in Howling Bells, on guitar, contributing a wild and almost contrapuntal layer, languid and cool.
The video was shot on an iPhone using a home made green screen:
Beautiful. You can preorder the album here.