When life in lockdown starts to stray into Groundhog Day territory, there’s nothing better than boogying around your bedroom to turn that glum into glee. Local garage punk-pop-rock fivesome Rhysics has thrown us a lifeline with their latest single ‘In My Room’, a tale of homebound isolation to help you feel just a little less lonely.
It’s a track written during a very personal time for frontman Rhys Renwick, after a valiant battle with gravity left him wheelchair bound. “I was standing up one minute, leaning over, putting my sock on. Then the leg I was standing on just folded in half the wrong way and tore everything. It was fucked,” said Rhys. “So yeah, don’t stand up and put socks on. Learning how to walk again is a whole ass deal.”
A few years on, his tale of isolation in recovery now speaks to an unpredictably universal experience. “I was in my room just feeling sorry for myself, writing songs with minor chords,” recalls Rhys. “It's one of those ones that made it out of the dark times and is still relevant somehow, unfortunately.” For a songwriting Rhys in ‘full emo mode’, the track cautions “how easy it is to be lazy, to trick yourself into thinking it’s easier to do something that’s toxic for yourself. When you’re isolated, you don’t realise how isolated you are until you’re out of it.” It’s a vulnerability we’ve rarely seen from Rhysics, a far cry from 2017’s Idiot Rock EP starring tracks such as ‘Bin Juice’. “I’ve always been quite shy about putting frickin’ feelings into songs, especially so explicitly,” he confessed. “It’s kind of cathartic and I hope it resonates, you know.”
And it does. ‘In My Room’ is nothing short of an electric odyssey of introspection and desperation delivered in three dynamic acts. The track kicks off with a crashing concoction of fuzzy chords and synth swirling underneath crooning autotune, a reference to the bedroom-pop projects that emerge from Rhys’ more idle hours in his room. After punching through the first chorus, the piece sheds its gravelly distortion and disembodied narrator to explode into an incredible and raw vocal performance carried by a fully-realised instrumental ensemble. “It’s like that relief of seeing people again,” said Rhys. But just as you’re jumping around the room, the third act brings you back down to earth. “Why do I want more of what I know hurts me? Why does salty water only make me more thirsty?” begs a desperate frontman. Hammering questions swell into a rich, symphonic grand finale which agitates itself into total catharsis as one final yell echoes out into the world - suffice to say, it’s a fucking journey.
The sum of its parts is that it’s one thing to be alone, but another to be lonely. And it’s the latter that’s been hardest to avoid these past months. “It’s so weird when you have so much of your personality and so much of your energy going toward being a part of a community, and then all of a sudden you can’t make meaningful contact with that community,” said Rhys. “Making music and recording and stuff is fun, but my favourite part of music is the live performance … people in the crowd, seeing all my favourite bands, getting my favourite bands to play with me - that’s always been the actually rewarding part.” So in lieu of a live show single launch, Rhysics is bringing people together in a rather more remote way. More than thirty friends and fans have recorded themselves dancing around their respective bedrooms to be collated into a music video for ‘In My Room’, a kind of community houseparty through video montage. It goes to show that “just because you’re spending time alone, doesn’t mean you are alone.”
Personally, Rhys has opted to spend stage 4 lockdown shitposting on Twitter, getting into painting, and reaching out to other ‘secretly shy’ musos. And as for where you can find him after lockdown - “All I wanna do is go down to a park, lift my shirt up in the sun, and just have my belly absorb all of the sunlight and drink a bottle of Passion Pop with all my friends. That's the dream. I think I must be part plant. I need that vitamin D so bad.”
Following last year’s ‘Missed My Train’, ‘In My Room’ is the second single to make up the forthcoming Rhysics album from which he intends to “release as many singles as I can before people get sick of it, then drop the album.” And while it’s the perfect isolation anthem, it’s going to taste so good in spittle, screaming out the lyrics from a socially-distanced crowd as soon as the Tote opens its doors once again.
As of today, you can stream ‘In My Room’ from the comfort of your own room on any of your favourite streaming platforms - sneak a listen below.