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Live Review: Sunscreen explore a surreal morning after on 'Tide'

25 January 2018 | 10:43 am | Kyle Fensom

Sunscreen explore the surreal emotional landscapes of the morning after on the sobering visuals for their latest single, 'Tide'.

Sydney four-piece SUNSCREEN have given the visual treatment to the lead single from their debut EP, Just A Drop, the stunning ‘Tide’.

Directed by Courtney Brooks and featuring an all-female crew, the clip follows lead singer Sarah Sykes as she navigates the emotional terrain of facing the morning-after amidst the sobering light of day. This experience is externalised and given shape in the landscape of a surreal, tassel-strewn house caught in the melancholic afterglow of a party.

Embracing the darker undercurrents of their EP, the band “created a series of surreal morning-after scenes, jumping between fantasy and reality, and a party and its aftermath. The clip expresses how easy it can be to feel socially isolated, even when there’s no lack of people around you”.

According to Sarah, the clip “blurs the lines between what is real and surreal, addressing the feelings of confusion and disorientation we’re often left with after big nights out. This feeling that can really hit the surface the morning after, when at the end you’re left alone with only your thoughts”.

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It’s surreal, but not in a way that overtly calls attention to itself. Instead, it’s more like the clip is revelling in the surreality of just how mundane Sarah’s surroundings are. The men all eat breakfast in unison, but the breakfast seems to consist only of the blue fruit loops; they play Nintendo 64 together, but six people is too many to all be playing on the same console. This is the way in which the video presents its perspective on the morning-after, where the true strangeness of the situation only reveals itself upon closer inspection amidst some sombre introspection.

Being shot almost entirely within the confines of the house, the all-white outfits and unexplained sex divisions between the members inside holds definite cult overtones, hinting at the ritualistic and tribal nature of the practice they’re now engaged in. But Sarah’s growing sense of disorientation and personal crises is clearly not shared those around her, who are for the most part dead-eyed and narcotised. The camera makes this clear through its immutable focus on Sarah’s straight-faced delivery and the flashes of emotion that occasionally shine through, her sobriety and composure contrasting against these subtly disconcerting scenes surrounding her.

But the visuals also never do too much to distract from what remains the centrepiece of Sunscreen’s chemistry on the track: the dual call-and-response vocals between Sarah and Alexander which, buoyed by a tight rhythm section, give the song all the contours of a fractious state of mind. The two voices essentially work as one; Sarah’s stunning range melting into Alexander’s lower register, their lines sometimes running over one another, and the shape of their vocal melodies even playing as inverse mirrors of each other before finally meeting in the chorus. Sarah’s voice naturally takes the foreground, but then there’s Alexander’s constantly lingering in the background with its precarious refrain: “But I don’t know where I am”.

Regardless of whether she knows where she is or not, at end of everything is Sarah, alone and ready to face the morning light.

Sunscreen’s Just A Drop EP is out now via. Spunk / Dinosaur City – you can stream it or buy it here.

IMAGE: Courtney Brooks