Chances are, you woke up on January 1 and realized none of this was a dream. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’re all trapped here together, and our dystopian society of paranoia and angst, cradled by a pandemic that is uneager to subside, is properly soundtracked by the shadow sounds of Ex-Hyena.
The dark electronic duo of Reuben Bettsak and Bo Barringer return with a low-end hum on January 21 with new single “Capture the Stills,” the follow up to October’s “Nightmare Pills” and the latest to be featured off their forthcoming sophomore album, this year’s Moon Reflections. It arrives complete with a b-side remix courtesy of Kentucky producer Control I’m Here that delves deeper into the track’s soulful, yet sinister, vibes.
This latest single, following in the footsteps of Ex-Hyena’s 2021 debut album Artificial Pulse and mixed by Dave Westner, is another brazen move forward for the creative songwriting pair, taking Ex-Hyena’s trademark sound of dual vocals, trembling percussion, and dark synths, and adding a more richer, lush sound that incorporates hip-hop-inspired beats and a wider creative canvas that snapshots our daily decay. It’s a grander sense of claustrophobic minimization, a panoramic view of the world around us, and a stark spin around the shadows that lurk just out of view of the mind’s eye.
Screenshots of all kaleidoscopic colors and moods are at play on “Capture the Stills,” which evokes the forthcoming LP’s twists and turns with a sound stretched out into prog-rock territory, boasting songs that delve into memories and the intricacies of our minds, playing out thematically like noir movie scenes. Ex-Hyena is a band constantly evolving, and here they display a collaborative songwriting acumen shared by two musical minds that have been communicating ideas for decades. And the world at play in Artificial Pulse is no longer relegated to some far off timeline horizon; the world of Ex-Hyena is entrenched in the here and now.
And when he does, he’ll have “Capture the Stills” on his demonic playlist.
Maybe by then, we’ll wake up to better news.