Premiere: Sainthill - 'The Black Bull'

Premiere: Sainthill - 'The Black Bull'

Naarm/Melbourne-based artist invites us into his dreamy world of atmospheric indie pop ahead of new album out March - take a first listen

Image credit: Samuel Horden

Having released his Go Pet EP back in 2021, Melbourne’s Tom Larkey AKA Sainthill has been busy readying his next body of work over the last few years and is now ready to unveil the first single from his new album, with The Black Bull out February 2 but premiering on Pilerats today!

An addictive blend of dream pop and indie-folk wrapped in shoegaze, The Black Bull opens with poignant piano and deliberate guitar strums before the drums and Larkey’s vocals both kick in simultaneously, drawing you in and not letting go across the song’s four minute run time. Upper tempo yet wistful and slightly melancholic, Tom explains the creation of The Black Bull “The Black Bull is a fairly up tempo song with pulsing bass and shoegaze elements like a mega-reverbed tremolo picking in the chorus. Also, I was learning to play So. Central Rain by R.E.M. and realised I’d lifted half the chord progression quite by accident

The origin of the song, like others on the album, begins in the hundreds of dream journal entries I have kept over the years that have an exceptional amount of animal appearances, and these were the frameworks for lyrical narratives. The Black Bull takes a potentially obvious metaphor (a black animal as depression) and then tells the story of someone taking matters into their own hands – in this case to train as a matador and overcome the bull (as grotesque as bullfighting is).”

With the new single the first taste of his forthcoming Dream Animal album, out March 1, Larkey explains the album’s title as being influenced by his constant dreams “I noticed an exceptional (or perhaps disturbing?) amount of animal appearances, and these encounters became the basis for metaphorical stories of lost cats, vulnerable horses, and sinister bulls. Chiming guitars and swirling keys ebb and flow, while sprightly rhythms carry simple yet elegant melodies.

Each song features some sort of narrative (mostly including animals), and these narratives are frameworks for moralistic tales and reflections on the subconscious. The themes include love, loss and renewal, romantic elusion, depression, dream symbols, setting things free, looking after the planet, and music-making itself.”

Take a run with The Black Bull a few days ahead of release:

Black Bull Single

Sainthill's new single The Black Bull is out February 2

Sainthill's new album Dream Animal is out March 1

Dream Animal Album

Follow Sainthill: Instagram / Facebook

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