Premiere: Agnes Manners unites with Trophy Eyes' John Floreani for new song, Sydney
Matthew Gravolin, former member of Hellions, launched the Agnes Manners solo project with its debut single earlier this year.
Those already familiar to the wealth of Australia's heavier rock scene would already be well familiar with Matthew Gravolin. Initially, the Sydney-based musician rose as the guitarist of experimental punk-rockers Hellions, who over the last few years, have blossomed into an essential of the Australian rock scene. He left the group in early-2019 to explore future projects, later working and performing alongside a few other heavier acts in the Australian rock realm, all while crafting a bank of 'misfits' that'd eventually come to define his solo project, Agnes Manners.
At first, the project grew from a laptop folder titled 'Manners' – a place where Gravolin would store and work upon slightly more wide-ranging and versatile sounds away from the heavier stomp of some of the acts he's previously associated with; a collection of 'misfits' – if you'd like – that have his strong-armed and well-recognised songwriting at the centre but in a bit of a different way to what you'd expect, shown through a sound a little more slower and subtle (if we're going off the project's debut single As Long As You're Mine that is, which arrived back last month).
Now, the Agnes Manners project is a fully-realised vision slowly coming to the surface in the public view, diving deeper upon every facet and angle the project provides – musically, thematically, personally – with every track including the one today, titled Sydney. Sydney was the track that caught people's attention from the get-go, with a very inviting guest collaborator – Trophy Eyes frontman and good friend John Floreani – finding himself on the project and working with Gravolin once again; a blossoming creative friendship that isn't being watered down with Gravolin's departure of Hellions to experiment with whats next.
Sydney – at its surface – is a short-but-sweet explosion of the Agnes Manners project at its most delightful and rich, capturing the potency of that aforementioned songwriting at its most wonderful – even with a short duration to showcase it. Matthew initially leads the way, a building orchestra of strings and stripped-back guitar taking the track into a near-ballad territory, before Floreani's instantly-recognisable vocal adds a trademark snarl into its second half; the track building up into something a little darker and heavier once its guest collaborator joins in.
"My dear friend and sexy skyscraper John Floreani kicks off the tempo change / rock bit in the way that only he can. John made musical and lyrical contributions to the song when I was writing in Melbourne so it made sense for him to join me on the track when he arrived at Karma Sound Studios to do some writing of his own while I was recording for Agnes Manners," Gravolin says on the song, and how the collaboration came about.
"During that recording trip, I ambled down to a beach after a long night at the bar to try and get a voice recording of sea sounds to put in one of the songs. I had too much to drink and I ended up vomiting on the beach - I forgot that the voice memo was still recording all the while. I revisited the recording the next day and salvaged the sound of me being sick over the sounds of waves. After some cutting, the result can be heard at the end of Sydney. Although admittedly a bit uncouth, I feel that it suits the lyrical content of the song. It's about a particularly excessive time in my life before I made the move from Sydney to Melbourne. Paranoia and shame are the operant themes, written from a perspective that felt very real and frightening at the time."
It's a brilliant track that doesn't just dive a little deeper into who and/or what Agnes Manners is and wants to present, but who Gravolin is too – something quickly building and making itself known with every Agnes Manners release. Take a dive into Sydney below as it premieres on Pilerats ahead of its official release tomorrow:
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