Adelaide band Street Legal have conjured a gateway to '80s-flavoured new wave, synthpop on their newest release, 'Modern Ruins'.A group who are still establishing themselves on the local scene after releasing their debut single ('Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow') earlier this year, Street Legal have played stages at Tour Down Under and Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival, as well as supporting veteran acts like The Living End and Magic Dirt.
'Modern Ruins' finds the group lyrically exploring singer Matthew Hayward's childhood, spent growing up in a regional town powered by the mining boom fostering a fly in, fly out culture whose byproduct drains the emotional relationships of the populace created by enforced distance between each other.
A sedated, unhurried wash off lavish-sounding drums and almost tropical, gleaming synths are joined by a tranquil guitar, the song's rhythm meandering with a forlorn romance that blooms as achingly strained vocals agonise about time spent apart from loved ones.
Flourishes of gloomily hopeful sax toward the end is the ultimate nod to the '80s, melded to a guitar riff drenched in a sentiment of longing that elongates the sorrow and moodiness felt.
"When writing 'Modern Ruins' I was thinking about all the rows of vacant houses during the mining boom and how that affected my regional home town for better or worse," vocalist Matthew Hayward says.
"It's a societal problem caused by the resources boom in Australia – the tyranny of distance between people chasing a dollar to survive and their personal happiness."
Ahead of the song's release on Monday (2 October), scenestr is amped to premiere 'Modern Ruins' today. Enjoy.
'Modern Ruins' also finds Matthew exploring his own songwriting, expanding the creative horizons to focus on viewpoints outside his own narrative. "I also wanted to write from a woman's perspective, mainly because women tend to do a lot of the emotional labor and that gets taken for granted."
'Modern Ruins' is also the work of a band honouring their own influences while adding their own take on a genre currently experiencing regrowth with younger audiences.
"I love The Reels and Split Enz, so we wanted to write a song that resonated with that golden era of Australian music," adds Hayward.
The song's drums, that are a highlight, also provided the group with an early smoko one afternoon during recording. "The song features an insane first drum take from our incredibly talented protege Max Tulysewski," Matthew says.
"We all stood there kinda dumbfounded when he pulled it off; sometimes the first take is the best take? Thanks to his tireless work ethic we all took the afternoon off."
Street Legal will head to Victoria for trio of shows in October before returning for a home-town performance.
Street Legal 2023 Tour DatesThu 12 Oct - Volta (Ballarat)
Fri 13 Oct - Cafe Gummo (Melbourne)
Sat 14 Oct - The Old Bar (Melbourne)
Fri 20 Oct - Crown & Anchor Hotel (Adelaide)