‘Hard to Explain’ by Dust in the Sunlight – song review

By December 9, 2020

Music. London (online).

Photo: Lauren Luxenberg

With it’s chuggy drum machine intro, propelled by piercing guitar and Julian Casablancas screamy vocals, The Strokes’ 2001 debut single ‘Hard to Explain’ will always be a track that transports me into the realms of my lilac bedroom, aged 14, full off teenage angst, finding solace in the line “I say the right things but act the wrong way”.

London-based alt pop duo, ‘Dust in the Sunlight’ magically impart new meaning onto that line with their uniquely brilliant take on the song. Distinctly different but synchronously familiar and nostalgic, the track is delicately layered with vintage synths, warm sax and velvety vocal harmonies, creating something that is spine-tinglingly moving.

Singer-songwriters Annie Raw Shaw and Billy Wright’s voices effortlessly melt and mix together. The duo formed following a chance meeting at Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s studio, where they both sang backing vocals. That same evening, they wrote their first two songs together and Dust in the Sunlight was born. Within 12 months of their formation, Dust in the Sunlight signed a record deal with West-London based label, Project Melody. Their self-titled debut EP has garnered support from BBC Introducing, CLASH and Radio X and their follow up remix EP, featuring The Big Pink, Owen Cutts (aka Mr Cutts), Mid Ground, Peaking Lights and Tom Donovan has been streamed over 300k times.

The influences of artists such as Sufjan Stevens and Joni Mitchell are distinct in their contemplative songwriting set against a landscape of brooding, alternative pop. With such a self-assured, powerful debut, I’m excited to see what the duo have in store in the future!

Find out more about Dust in the Sunlight here