Track By Tracks: Sugar Spine - Mirror Talk (2022)

1. Gutter Paint:

In a nutshell, Gutter Paint is directed at a certain bunch of politicians in Australia who are corrupt to their core. The press protects them, and in the worst-case scenario, they're given a slap on the wrist and the world moves on. It's something that really pisses me off, and it felt like a good theme to write about and a great way to vent my frustrations. The term 'Gutter Paint' describes the Jackson Pollock-Esque mural a corrupt politician would leave on the ground after falling from their high-rise tower.

2. 83:

Sexism and misogyny, let alone the objectification of women, is something that is still happening today and is still normalized in the world around us. Despite the constant messages, initiatives to raise awareness, and even the falls of the grace of some truly disgusting human beings, we seem to still not get the message. The number 83 is short for the year 1883 when Mary Lee first became active in the Social Purity Society. She was a suffragette who was influential in women having more free agency and safety in Australia. This track is a bit of a homage to her, but also a lamentation that we still have such a long way to go in terms of how we treat and respect women.

3. Mirror Talk:

This track is the only one that looks inwards, rather than out at the world. Mirror Talk is literally that... just facing yourself in the mirror and forcing yourself to understand the reflection. When we do look there, do we do it with the integrity that is needed, or are we lying to ourselves even when attempting to look in our own eyes? The EP artwork sums this up perfectly and was carried out by the incredible artist Irvan Yuda Pratama. The lyrics to this song actually weigh quite heavily on me still, even after the song has been released. It's probably the most honest thing I've ever written.

4. The Black Stag:

This one is an aggressive pointing of the finger at the way we so easily divide each other up based on our opinions and ideas. If you're not comfortable with getting the vaccine, you're immediately a conspiracy theorist; if you're double jabbed and boosted, you're a sheep. If you're religious you're gullible, if you're atheist you're living a pointless existence. The constant division is exhausting, and I wrote this to say that I refuse to partake when it comes to this. The media does a great job of amplifying and inflaming these positions just for more engagement, and I deeply hate that.

5. Crusader:

Back in 2005, the Cronulla Riots happened in Sydney, and it was essentially an ugly display of the intensely racist and nationalist groups that were violently attacking people of Middle-Eastern appearance. That was their only criterion, appearance. Even if a brown-skinned person was born in Australia, these groups were going to attack them. Crusader talks about Islamophobia in all its forms but mainly points out its absolute hypocrisy of it as well. A crusader is historically a person who fought in military expeditions in Europe to wipe out Muslim populations, in the name of Christ. Nowadays, you have people who call themselves Christian and preach unconditional love and acceptance, but people of the Muslim faith rarely receive that affection.

6. Sensation:

"Newspapers are good for wiping your own ass, they're used to having shit put on them." That is the best way I can sum up what Sensation is all about. The media outlets are so painfully one-sided, and people fall into the trap of believing that that's the only narrative to any story. Echo chambers are much larger than people actually think they are, and it really just takes a few minutes to consider that what you're hearing may not be the complete picture. I heard a rhetorical question somewhere once that stuck with me. "Do you know it, or do you just Google know it?" It's a perfect sentence that sums up the way we consume information today. Suck in a few headlines for 5 minutes, then go and rant about something we didn't even bother to properly investigate. This track almost caused my voice to blow out in the intro; there was a lot of anger put into this one.

7. Pen Or Sword:

This one takes a different turn, and unlike the others, actually provides a bit of hope and empowerment if you're willing to see it that way. Essentially, the track explores the harsh reality of some seriously messed-up situations that people are in because of government overreach, poor economic management, and blatant corruption. It's all relative depending on which country you reside in, but the point of this track is that if you are against something that is happening to you or the world around you, then be the one to stand up and advocate for change or even action it. A lot of people complain about social media but rarely do they take steps to become productive and create change. The final line to this track is 'be angry', and I stand by that, but if it fit well, I probably would have thrown a little 'be productive' in there somewhere also.

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