With wry, laconic lyrics and a delicious vocal style – expressive and unashamedly Australian – ‘Do You See Me’ is a gorgeously lush single that sparkles in the dry heat. Mal de Mar are a six piece Perth band and their delivery has an immersive funky rhythm with a wandering bouncy bass, splashing sun-dappled guitars and an eighties-soaked synth with an indelible riff.
Singer Saskia Fleming has a velvet drowsy voice inflected with a cutting, acerbic humour. She says of the song’s themes:
The song came about when I was in a pretty dark headspace. At the time, I was trapped in an exhausting combination of deep sadness, and overwhelming anger. I’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves, but I hope the listener can feel those emotions wash over them as they flow through the song. When I finally plucked up the courage to show the band what I’d written I was blown away- everybody’s parts felt like essential pieces of the song that were meant to be there all along. It was like everything just clicked into place.
The accompanying lyric video has an innocent joy about it, and yet all is not what it seems. Fleming says of its inspirations:
It’s a stop motion lyric video using beads, pastel felts, and glitter (among many other things!!). My housemate Freddie came home one day from Spotlight with a load of colourful beads, and made me a necklace with a lyric from this single on it. When I was given the necklace, it at first sparked the idea of doing a very limited run of merch in the form of jewelry for this track. That idea then snowballed into doing an entire stop motion lyric video using those beads. The concept is using colourful childlike craft supplies to create a clip that at first seems upbeat, and straightforward, but over the course of the track, gradually begins to reveal it to be a facade hiding the dark reality of what is going on beneath the surface. I worked on the concept with the amazing director Mare Elzinga, who took my basic idea and has brought it to life.
It is a perfect fit with the song: something that seems on the surface light and bright but hiding within its coloured folds something a little darker:
This is distinctive and fresh material that sparkles with a certain ethereal beauty – a lovely end to the year. ‘Do You See Me?’ is out now and available to download and stream here.
Feature Photograph: Sarah Gelmi @ftografs