There’s impact from your words
They sneak into my brain like a scorpion
In the eclectic realm that defines Boston ‘dystopian dance’ outfit Ex-Hyena’s work, they artfully meld staccato punctuations with Hertztones, drawing inspiration from hip-hop’s intricate rhythms. This exploration nudges their musical narrative into enigmatic and undefinable depths. Their craftsmanship reveals a distinctive blend: the gritty resonance of industrial, the hedonistic pulse of disco, the ethereal undertones of psych-rock, all infused with the shimmering essence of synthpop. Truly, Ex-Hyena’s compositions are a symphony for the urbane and discerning ear.
Ex-Hyena, with their ever-so-intriguing and faintly voyeruristic musical flair, dares to waltz on the thin line separating our oh-so-real world’s jitters from the gnawing unease of our late-night musings. Yet again, they peer—with neither a flinch nor a flutter—at the world’s mundanities, seizing candid snippets of our everyday drudgeries, only to toss them, rather audaciously, into the shadowed corners of our overworked brains. Employing shoegaze guitars and a spectrum of sound to create a yearning depth that aligns with its emotive drive, as if everything in the world depends on the next impactful beat, “In Slow Motion” continues to pull back Ex-Hyena’s sonic curtain to display colorful shades of the project’s dark energy.
Ex-Hyena dives headlong into the communal soup of our thoughts, placing them under a loupe. If we were to slow those quicksilver reactions, would our viewpoints tilt, teeter, or thin our grasp on reality? Heavens, isn’t it already a veritable ordeal, trying to converse with substance in this dizzying age, brimming with its relentless social media sideshows? What happened to living in the moment?
These contemplations anchor their latest single and accompanying visual, In Slow Motion, out via Re:Mission Entertainment.
“Things seem to move so fast sometimes and it’s hard to savour moments, or understand a magical day, a traumatic event, a breakup or a fight, etc.,” says Bettsak. “It’s kind of the whole imagining life as a movie where you could replay things in slow motion – with other psychedelic effects for good measure….In the lyrics I was picturing an argument with a significant other in slow motion, with actual colourful letters coming out and such. The song is also a celebration of movement and cherishing life. And of course it delves into our fears and how they can be debilitating.”
In their music video for “In Slow Motion,” these themes evolve into a visually arresting tableau. Helmed by Bettsak, the film invites audiences into an otherworldly panorama replete with zebra-clad individuals, gyrating dragons, and enigmatic doorways that serve as conduits to undefined realms.
The propulsive “In Slow Motion,” backed with a fevered remix from Ohio’s Child of Night, marks a new era for Ex-Hyena. It’s the deliberate first offering from Reuben Bettsak and Bo Barringer’s forthcoming third album, A Kiss of the Mind, and their debut with Re:Mission Entertainment.
Produced and mixed by Barringer, and Mastered by Adam Stillson at Decade Music Studio, “In Slow Motion” has already become something of a fan favourite in the Ex-Hyena live arsenal. It made sense to unveil it as an introduction to A Kiss of the Mind: “It’s one of the most direct, catchy, energetic songs on the album,” says Bettsak. “We thought it would be great to start with the bang it brings. It’s a song with powerful hooks and impactful lyrics. I also love that it makes you dance and dynamically keeps building up even though it’s somewhat repetitive.”
Since the band’s inception in 2021, surfacing through the haze of a global pandemic and illuminated by the city’s darkest corners, Ex-Hyena has delivered a steady and prolific beat across underground dance floors, with two albums (2021’s Artificial Pulse and 2022’s Moon Reflections), a handful of singles and EPs, and collaborations with Control I’m Here, Hororhaus, The Gothsicles, BlakLight, Pleasure Policy, Jackson VanHorn, Denial Waits, Blood Handsome, and others.
From here, the beat rolls on, and Ex-Hyena’s future-noir styling would not be complete without a look ahead. Another new single and companion remix via Re:Mission is on the way for the tail end of this year or early 2024, ahead of the unveiling of A Kiss of the Mind.
“We can’t wait to share those as well,” Bettsak concludes. “We’ll definitely have live shows for the rest of the year and through 2024. Essentially, we are just thrilled to share the new album with everyone, work with this great label, play shows, meet great people, and collaborate.”
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