Avant-Pop: Reliant Tom – SOS

SOS is the new single from Reliant Tom, duo From Hudson Valley (New York state), in USA. At first it sounds pretty much like trip-hop from Portishead, there are some heavy synth leads, that remind me my cute Microbrute from Arturia and all the noise I make with it, specially step sequencing. Reliant Tom combines remarkable sound design, with modern dance and songwriting with no specific genre intentions. Some of their earlier songs remind me 80s British post-punk scene.

SOS came out this 20th March, in all streaming platforms. The duo is formed by composer Monte Weber and choreographer/singer Claire Cuny.

Monte comes from a family of music passionate parents that have been playing Brazilian music in the state of Massachusetts, specially Brazilian percussion. As a result, Monte graduated in music composition, focusing on electronic music. His dream to have a band became concrete after he met Clair in a concert, according to him:

“Reliant Tom gives me the outlet to explore both pulse driven works while maintaining the other musical elements which I find fascinating – timbre, aleatoric processes, and interactive technologies.”

As for Claire, she started playing her own music much later, starting with piano and moving onward with choreography, as she already was a ballet dancer before in Dallas. The fact that she moved to New York brought her new opportunities, where she started to sing with different bands and write her own songs, before joining Monte to create Reliant Tom. She explains:

“It is very interesting to work together from our differing backgrounds. Our ultimate goal with Reliant Tom is to be a multi-media performance experience that straddles the line between pop and experimental music – and philosophising about what that even means, and is that even possible as “experimental pop”? It seems like it’s an oxymoron. I’ve learned so much from just trying to navigate this with him.”

Moreover, about the sound design and the inspiration to compose their new single SOS, the duo claims:

“SOS” is a recounting of childhood anxiety and repression from institutionalized patriarchy and guilt. The leading polyrhythmic and jittery synth line counters against a steady hook of beats, electric bass, and chord progressions, topped by the smooth cooing of Claire Cuny’s vocals to create an uneasy yet hypnotic groove.”

Later on, Clair states that the feeling of anxiety has driven them to create the track, an anxiety that serves as a creative force to write SOS. Mainly an anxiety that came from the oppression created by the cultural elements of patriarchy. Well, songs that explore current societal discussions, such as the oppression of patriarchy are more than welcome here. Let’s quote Clair herself again:

“We wanted to depict anxiety. The initial underlying synth is not the same tempo as the rest of the song – it’s faster and a little manic. It’s meant to instill the feeling of being calm and collected on the outside, while simultaneously experiencing internal turmoil… and the vocals are the stolid, unforgiving voice in the back of your head you can’t ignore. Growing up I struggled with anxiety in school. I had a lot of issues with the ideologies of my particular school; the patriarchy, the guilt driven morality, the close-mindedness, and the overall environment that made going to school an anxiety-ridden experience. In this song I studied that anxiety from that perspective and unified with it. I let myself become the anxiety and it feels powerful, like I’m overcoming it by becoming it.”

Their new album is planned to be released later this year by Division Records.  You can stream their music in Spotify here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *