Lorde is currently the face of New Zealand’s music scene, but it likely won’t be long before other Kiwis join her on the international stage. In fact, her hometown of Devonport is a hotbed for rising talent, so much so that its nearby high school Takapuna Grammar has been dubbed the “School of Rock”.
One such musician who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the “Royal” pop star and capture the attention of a global audience is Rob Dickens. A synthpop songwriter who performs under the name Taxidermy Hall, he’s since moved from Devonport to Brooklyn to further pursue his solo project and gain more exposure.
His first release in the US was last month’s “Window Shop”, a promising single that seemed to confirm what music fans in New Zealand and neighboring Australia already knew: That region of the world knows how to use its synths to great effect and piece together a damn good emotional hook. Its newly unveiled B-side titled “Just” drives this notion home.
While the track has elements of bygone genre chillwave, Dickens gives it heat straight from the heart. “Nice lies, gonna pass you by/ A warm bed with some lead on a fishing line,” he sings over a synthesized backdrop that smolders, yearns. “Just as you walk right up, just as you say my name/ Just as you call me love, I want to be alone again.”
As its lyrics suggest, “Just” finds Dickens struggling to unknot his feelings and navigate the risky, mercurial waters surrounding a relationship. He explains the concept of the song in a statement to Consequence of Sound:
“We all have to face some kind of relentless tease at some point. Something that appears attainable in one instance, then disappears the moment you act like you want it. It’s bullshit, but it’s so entertaining you can’t help it. And life is so fucking confusing that sometimes you even end up being the one tricking yourself into thinking you want something, just to realize you actually don’t want it at all. So then the whole thing is your fault, but it was still fun and disappointing at the same time. That’s the situation this song is about.”
Stream “Just” below.
Both “Window Shop” and “Just” will appear on a two-track EP to be released in the coming months.