Photo by Emerald
Five years ago, almost to the month, I listened to the sophomore record from Brooklyn-based DIIV and came across their song 'Blue Boredom' - a spoken-word, post-punk burner that featured Sky Ferreira on vocals. This song opened up a whole world of spoken-word post-punk that at that point I had never been exposed to (having spent my previous college years on a strict diet of Sydney Hip Hop and whatever was popular on triple j). I loved the light and breathy vocals that came from Ferreira, contrasting with the thunderous and melodic guitars and drums DIIV are known for, giving the song a kind of attitude that nineteen-year-old me could really relate to.
Moving to the present day, and we continue to soak in spoken-word post-punk anthems with the debut single from Kaurna Land/Adelaide-based group Placement. 'Harder' is an excellent song to introduce us to the band, who are self-described as "a shaken can of soda" - which I feel is certainly true after listening to this song many times so far.
'Harder' bleeds with that "fuck off" attitude we love to hear, with the song written about the unwanted conversations customer service workers have to go through on a day-to-day basis. "At work you often can’t respond as you may want, but instead must provide the customer with a sanitised response to whatever they talk at you. I might not ever have said what I wanted to their face, but I’m saying it now" vocalist and guitarist Malia said of the song.
My favourite part of the song embodies this, coming right after the first chorus - "Get stuck into your daily tour of all the people who can't say 'fuck off' to your advice" followed by the melodic chemistry of the guitars, bass, and percussion that play so well together to drive the themes of the song home. It's a song to listen to on the way home from work on the busy roads, thinking about all the dense interactions you've had that day.
The song seemingly comes to a close at the two-and-a-half minute mark in a crash of feedback guitars and cymbals, before the band bring us back for one more finale, getting you all excited for what the band will bring us next.
Placement is definetely one for fans of Tropical Fuck Storm, Mere Women, and fellow UK spoken-word post-punks Dry Cleaning. So get amongst them now and get ready for whatever 2021 will bring us next.