Adelaide's electro-art-pop quartet Only Objects are nearing the release of the group's debut album, 'The Nostomanic Cypher'.
First forming in 2015, Only Objects have released a number of singles across the years experimenting with their sound; from electro-rock with a trance drop, a French House banger, even an imaginary spy thriller theme track.
Now the group, headed by Patrick Lang, have moved towards more conceptual, longer form work that are often deeply personal – 'it's a little more raw, a little more live, and a little more human'.
Influenced by the hazy gothic tones of the '80s, from Depeche Mode to The Cure, Only Objects first began working on what would become 'The Nostomanic Cypher' in 2019, teaming with producer Mario Späte (Tkay Maidza, Montaigne, Megan Washington).
Then COVID came and forced the group to pause all record-making activities; this had the unintended consequence of shifting the approach of the album to present a complete work of art; from the artwork and graphic design to the sound of every synthesiser.
Ahead of the album's release on 8 October (which will also be available on deluxe vinyl gatefold), scenestr is stoked to share a sneaky premiere of 'The Nostomanic Cypher' record today. Enjoy.
"'The Nostomanic Cypher' didn't start as an album," begins Patrick Lang. "It was supposed to be an EP – a logical next step after having released a number of singles.
"In typical fashion, we picked too many songs (seven in this instance) and deluded ourselves into thinking that was an EP (forgetting that a long EP is, in fact, an album).
"We linked up with producer Mario Späte, a good friend and a wonderful producer who co-wrote 'Accretion Disk' and 'Good News, Didn't Die' with us, and started laying drums down in late 2019.
"Then, well, everything else happened. 2020 kicked off, as it did, and suddenly we couldn't all ethically get in to record. Gigs stopped, recording stopped, everything stopped. Except for the existential despair. That was a solid constant.
"However, after a run of decent luck with COVID in South Australia, we managed to get up and moving again in late 2020.
"By that point I realised that we were making an album, and I wanted to make it something truly special. The songs hadn't been written with overarching themes or a narrative in mind, but slowly a meta-narrative started emerging.
"'The Nostomanic Cypher' is, and always will be, at its heart, a break-up album; a sharp reminder of years from my life better left behind me, but what could we say beyond that?
"Why try to make a break-up record, when so many great ones have come before? So we started interrogating the whole concept of a break-up album and, critically, the question of whether making art of your bad experiences is worth having gone through them in the first place.
"These ideas then started spiralling out into all of the other aspects of the record. The production started reflecting the themes – beginning big, dramatic and bombastic before becoming more raw, more naked.
"Several instrumentals appeared, tying the two sides of the record together and cementing it as an album proper.
"At this point I started working with our regular graphic designer Jesse Miles, who I delivered a near 15-page graphic design brief to.
"He has done incredible work pulling my thoughts together, and the finished record is a graphic vertical slice of my brain, covered in train stations, Cold War ephemera, codes, cyphers and allusions to spies (did I mention that I hold a PhD in screen-based espionage drama? Because that has definitely played its part. Also my PhD supervisor is hosting the launch show).
"This commitment to aesthetics means that the songs are accompanied by a truly unique design object, one packed full of hidden metanarratological meanings, right down to including stickers and postcards of said meanings.
"It's the kind of sleeve we want you to stare at as the record spins on the platter, looking for meaning. "At the end of the day, I just wanted the record to be honest, and I think we've achieved that.
"It's unblinkingly, sometimes uncomfortably honest. It's raw and truthful, but also has choruses you can sing-along to, riffs that stick in your head and lyrics that (I hope) stay with you.
"It also speaks to the wonderful qualities of my bandmates, their strength as performers and the depth of our collaboration as artists.
"Plus the contributions of all of our team – I like having a 'gang' around me who I can rely on creatively.
"I'm not sure where we're going next, as a band, but I can only imagine that it's even deeper, even stranger. And I can't wait.
"It's been a long road getting to this release, and getting used to the idea of playing live again (our long-standing drummer Gerard left the band mid-2020, under good terms, and we've been busy getting to know our new member, Sam), but we are excited, energised, and hungry to get back out there."Only Objects launch 'The Nostomanic Cypher' at The Lab (Adelaide) 15 October.