Music / Premieres
Video Premiere:
Girlatones - Get To The End
Words by Conor Lochrie
Wednesday 8th January, 2020
Melbourne’s Girlatones are set to release their second album Horn If You’re Honky this March, and they’re starting the new decade with its first taste ‘Get to the End’ - a moment of wistful jangle-pop with an excellent video that we have the pleasure of previewing today.
It’s been three years since Girlatones’ debut LP Fitting In Well was released, a collection of delightfully simplistic DIY pop songs, rich in warmth and honesty. This new single, however, is a brief melancholic removal. Upon listening, its style seems unbefitting for an album with the inane title of Horn If You’re Honky but Girlatones clearly possess that same sublime ability as Glasgow’s iconic indie-pop band Belle and Sebastian to weave introspective melancholia with upbeat joyousness.

And ‘Get To The End’ is a masterwork in the former. The arrangement is suitably sparse, better to allow for singer Jesse Williams’ wistful vocals to be emboldened (his emotive delivery is also strikingly reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, at times indistinguishable). A gentle piano chimes intermittently and the only other instrumentation is gentle and warm guitars that seem to match the incoming waves that we watch roll onto the beach in the video.

The accompanying clip shows the weekend that the band spent with Traffik Island in Warrnambool, playing a show together and going surfing. The trendy super-8 film captures the nostalgia of it all perfectly - it feels like an intimate home video, those ones we watch later in our lives and look back at our younger selves, a snapshot of what we used to be like.

The lyrics are simple but affecting, speaking as they do of the universal theme of losing someone close to you. Williams ponders the dissolution of the relationship, wondering what happened to bring about its demise (“No response/Anymore/Not sure what happened there”). There is a powerlessness in his words, the alienation that one feels when they truly don’t know what they did wrong or, perhaps, what they could have done differently. It’s the song’s constant refrain, though, that really imbues its meaning: “When you get to the end….maybe we could be friends again/When you get to the end….maybe we could make sense of it”. He accepts his powerlessness for now and acknowledges the time and space that the other person may need.

Towards the end of the video, we receive a close up shot of The Art Of Loving, a classic 1956 book by the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and there’s a quote from this that seems particularly pertinent in relation to the song: “There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.” This notion, it seems, is what the band are trying to capture with ‘Get To The End’. As Williams mourns the loss of his relationship, the images of friendship amidst days under the sun excellently juxtaposes the pain with happiness. Our lives are continuously in motion. People leave them, new people enter. Some relationships last, some fade into memory. ‘Get To The End’ shows us that we can experience both and still be fine.

For as Fromm notes in his book, love is an art to be learned, no different from any other art form. It takes the two individuals involved to understand that love isn’t some magical illusion that one falls madly into, but rather is a process of growth and personal accountability; Williams, judging by the song’s lyrics, has reached this realisation.

While it’s to be expected that Girlatones will mostly return to their sunny garage pop ways within the rest of Horn If You’re Honky, sometimes we all need to slow down, pause in consideration, and indulge in nostalgia - and ‘Get To The End’ is the perfect song for this moment.

Horn If You're Honky is set to be released on March 20th, via Lost and Lonesome locally and Meritorio Records in Spain.