It's a fumbling, cluttering introduction, where competing guitar directives of the dominant and barely-there plucks are matched by the equally meandering vocals of Dusty McCord-Anastassiou, stumbling into scene with more questions and answers, more slurs than sentences. Life bursts through eventually, a gentler, less-grating female voice lifting our lead from his collapsed state, structuring something from the self-reflective heap. And we twist through the many paths the song lays out, in-and-out of time and focus, adapting through guitar-rock jolts and lyrics stretched and obstructing, only allowing those that land to hit with all the more impact: "I learnt to mimic your defeat".
So goes "Benefits of Solitude" — the title-track from Dag's forthcoming, long-laboured debut — premiering today. It's a four-minute unguided tour of the desolate landscape of Dagworld, where Cohen reflection and a stammer of alt-alt-country lazily swerve towards a more guided pop glow, placing the whole patchwork somewhere on the spectrum aside Lower Plenty's travelling restlessness and the confessional comfort of Goon Sax. And while the Melbourne quartet's previously previewed LP tracks — "Guards Down" and "Staying Up At Night" — land closer to the flowing nature of their post-Dunedin contemporaries, "Benefits of Solitude" is all its own beautiful mess, playfully poetic and upbeat, operating clearly as a mere mask for the unfiltered darker side.
"'Benefits of Solitude' is a song about my childhood, growing up on a cattle property in Central Queensland", explains McCord-Anastassiou. "[It's about] seeing the impact of rural isolation on the ones you love - depression, alcoholism. The way these experiences shape and create who you become."
Listen to "Benefits of Solitude" below:
Benefits of Solitude will be released February 24th on Bedroom Suck Records, with pre-orders available now. The band have also locked in a series of shows over the next few months, starting early February.
Dag Tour Dates
Wednesday, February 8th: Tote Front Bar supporting Palm Springs
Saturday, February 11th: Howler supporting Terrible Truths
Friday, February 24th: The Curtin, Melbourne (Album Launch)
Friday, March 10th: The Metro, Adelaide
Friday, March 31st: Empire Hotel, Brisbane
Sunday, April 2nd: The Haunt, Brisbane
Saturday, April 22nd: The Grand Poobah, Hobart