A Detroit deathgaze duo are the last folks you’d expect to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but Vazum wants to make it clear winter can be a bummer for anybody. Their new single, “Blush,” is a hopeful and timely reminder that milder days lie ahead – a message to cling to, whether your personal tastes normally run toward daffodils or funeral lilies. Check out “Blush” on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?si=SdjPCYJvsEN02jQs&v=m_BzJFtk4Vs&feature=youtu.be
Appropriately enough, it all came out of their love of gardening. Last year, musical partners Zach Pilska (vocals, guitar and drums) and Emily Sturm (vocals, bass and synyhesizers) bought a church in Jackson, Michigan, to serve as their living space and personal studio. One of the first things they did was to turn the parking lot out front into an oasis of native pollinators and flowers. Watching that garden flourish as spring turned to summer planted the literal seed of a new song: a hymn of renewal to be repeated like an affirmation in times when all seems frozen and hopeless.
“Every Winter is a struggle to survive the cold, dark, bleak days and nights,” the band says. “Seasonal depression hits us all in different ways. We look forward to the Spring with much excitement, as the sun breathes new life to the flowers and trees.”
The song renders that phenomenon as a neatly repeating two-act drama. Over a driving beat and some angular, ominously chiming guitar, Sturm’s vocal places us in the middle of a winter “so cold and bitter” that its virtues are hard to spot:
Maybe it looks nice on paper
We’re always falling down
The chords and melody turn brighter, though, for the wholly redemptive chorus:
Sunny days coming soon
For your lover
Lifting you up
And so it goes, back and forth and on again and off again, for five reassuring minutes that embody the eternal process of quietus and rebirth.
It’s uplifting stuff indeed for an act that traditionally trades in deathgaze – a hybrid of deathrock, post-punk and shoegaze. The accompanying music video is a study in contrasts too, transitioning from foreboding shots of wintry skies to images of wildflowers filmed in that Jackson garden and projected onto the band members’ bodies as they play. The duo have even departed from their traditional jet-black duds, donning cheerier metallic and iridescent costumes for “a glimmer of hope.”
Vazum has seen plenty of seasons pass since Pilska began recording and performing under that name in 2017. He released three albums before meeting Sturm; as a duo, they’ve generated multiple singles, an EP and four albums, including last year’s V-, a compilation of re-recorded greatest hits. With “Blush” out January 5, they’re about to embark on a tour of the Southern U.S. Spring, as they say, has sprung.