Track: There’s a shimmering space to ‘Breathe’ as the magnificent RINSE announces new ‘Starfish’ EP.

Feature Photograph: Joel Wilson

The sun always shines brighter, even on a cold winter’s day in the deep south, when Naarm/Melbourne-based shoegaze dream popster RINSE releases another single. And the radiance is altogether brighter with the news that it will be part of a new EP entitled ‘Starfish’, out through Cohort Records on 20 June 2024.

RINSE is of course the nom de plume of multi-instrumentalist and producer Joe Agius, originally from Brisbane, and a firm favourite round here in the antipodean outpost of Backseat Mafia.

RINSE’s new single ‘Breathe’ maintains the momentum of earlier singles ‘Kiss Me (Kill Me)’ feat. Hatchie and ‘Stranger’ feat. Caroline Loveglow with its return to the luscious sounds of RINSE’s previous magnus opus ‘Wherever I Am’ (see my 9.8/10 review here).

A tremeloed guitar start gives way to a wall of shimmering sound, intense and layered with a synth etching a glorious riff. Agius’s distinctive vocals soar over the top with subtle harmonies and a chorus that lifts the song into the stratosphere like an updraft on the wings of an albatross. It’s breathtakingly expansive and positively thrilling, pop melodies that quicken the pulse and shorten the breath.

‘Breathe was originally written back in 2019 with GRAMMY-nominated producer Jorge Elbrecht (Sky Ferreira, Wild Nothing, Hatchie) with drums performed by Beach House’s James Barone, and after sitting in a folder for a while, was re-discovered at just the right time.

RINSE says of the track:

Breathe was maybe the first RINSE song I ever wrote, but I felt a bit disconnected to it at the time. It ended up sitting in a folder gathering dust for many years. After rediscovering it, it suddenly felt more appropriate sonically and lyrically than ever and I spent a couple of weeks refreshing all the parts and fell back in love with it in the process. This experience reminded me that sometimes songs aren’t always meant for the moment they are written, and the time will come when they resonate with a future self better than ever.

An enigmatic video of the band in action serves to augment the sparkle:

This is another absolutely glorious song from an artist that is producing some of the best indie pop in the world at the moment.

The hotly anticipated EP will be unleased on 20 June and you can pre-order it here. Hopefully a physical version will be available at some point too.

‘Starfish’ was purposefully written and recorded in part from Agius’s home in Naarm/Melbourne and at the studios of musicians in his community, Simon Lam (Kllo, Armlock) in Naarm/Melbourne and Dan Pussaari (Cub Sport) in Meanjin/Brisbane, mixed by Elliot Heinrich (Little Simz, POND, DMAs), with Brodie Brümmer and Andy Russell of Flyying Colours – who also form part of RINSE’s live band – laying down guitars and drums. With some of the EP’s tracks taking upwards of five years to be finished, others came together almost instantly: Agius says:

Creating music for me has always been an incredibly visual thing. I feel like when I’m onto a good idea or song it’s because I can imagine the picture it’s existing inside of and it just writes itself.

The track list is:

Kiss Me (Kill Me) feat. Hatchie
Stranger feat. Caroline Loveglow
Raindrops feat. Winter
Everything Feels So Different Now

Feature Photograph: Joel Wilson

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