If everything is in a name, then surely Collapsing Scenery is a band for these “collapsing new times.” Indeed, these days it’s not so much “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” as it is “the more things stay the same, the worse they become for almost everyone.” See: the current and desperately cynical US Administration.
The LA duo actually take The Pet Shop Boys’ “Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat” philosophy literally here, with incisively relevant new single “Straight World Problems” (which BlackBook premieres here) apparently drawing on urbane post-punk references like Cabaret Voltaire and A Certain Ratio. They lay down one of 2017’s wickedest grooves to emphasize a semi-apocalyptic call to arms: “A new era is upon us / Is here to haunt us,” they decry over over a beat that sounds lifted straight from a gritty 80s Downtown NYC dancefloor.
“This song,” they explain, “is about the awful frequency with which new regimes and new systems mimic the worst qualities of those they replace. It’s painful for anyone fundamentally anti-establishment and instinctively critical of structural power to run up against the rocks of the reality of building new systems or, even worse, attempting to exist outside them altogether.”
So, with our utopian dreams extinguished, is this just a particularly groovy call to finally abandon all hope?
“It’s an anti-utopian song,” says singer Reggie Debris, “but I hope not a cynical one. I’m a huge believer in managing expectations, especially when it comes to politics. Dreaming of an unattainable, ideal future only leads to misery and disengagement when that future fails to materialize. That disappointment opens the field for other, usually opposing utopians to ply their vision; and as that cycle continues, it more often that not leads to escalating violence.”
Most worryingly, the song’s central mantra is, “Who’s gonna save you now?” Tragically, we have no idea.
(N.B. The video for the single will premiere tonight at a screening at Cafe Henri in NYC, with Director/Photographer Richard Kern on hand. CS will also play five California dates in late May.)
May 20- CS at 14th Factory. Highland Park, CA
May 22- CS at Blond Bar. SD, CA
May 24- CS at Brick and Mortar. SF, CA
May 25- CS at 1234 GO! in Oakland, CA