Huntly are a Melbourne trio making indie-pop in both senses of the phrase. By which I mean: “Low Grade Buzz,” the title track from their upcoming debut album, exists in continuum with the many artists who’ve spent the past decade putting an artful spin on mainstream pop, but it’s also operating on a twee wavelength that wouldn’t be totally out of place on K Records. Consider it the midpoint between Wet and the Blow.
Lead singer Elspeth strikes a charming, conversational tone here. Her voice sounds amazing against a minimal backdrop of elongated keyboard chords and assorted drum machine blips. Every once in a while her vocal track degrades into metallic distortion, emphasizing just how sweetly melodious she sounds most of the time. One memorable series of lines: “The sun came up, we sat in silence/ And just like always, I felt like her friends just wanted me gone/ But we admired each other, and I felt like the lucky one.”
Via email, Elspeth explains, “It was written while I lay in Tempelhof airfield in Berlin after a night out, accompanied by a dinky Yamaha keyboard I bought from an op shop and carried around Europe with me. It’s about fullness and emptiness and being a bit strung out after staying up all night.”