Last year, metallic hardcore amalgam Wounded Touch positioned themselves among the most promising of prospects with the debut of their Smartpunk Records full length, Americanxiety. Anchored by the potency of the pummeling collaboration with the late, great Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder in "Excerpts From a Violent Thesis", the band's stock was further substantiated as their brand resonated well among both the hardcore and metal contingent.
Attempting to capture the same lightning in a bottle unleashed in 2022, the band has resurfaced with their first delivery of new material since Americanxiety with the launch of "Sleep a Cicada Would Envy". Enlisting the same personnel that saw the band to their full potential on their debut, both Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recording and Brad Boatright at Audiosiege were entrusted to help launch the next era of Michigan collective.
Stylistically, the track revels in the braun associated with the post-hardcore salad days of the early 2000's. Treading familiar paths previously paved by the likes of Poison the Well, Zao and Hopesfall, Wounded Touch embrace classic elements of the sound and showcase a skilled balance of well-honed hostility on the track.
Elaborating on the context of the single, the band detail the narrative of a frustrated creative at the core the track. “‘Sleep a Cicada Would Envy’ is an artist’s metaphorical two week’s notice. Lyrically it’s about the desire to seek much needed sleep, which the narrator hopes lasts as long as a cicada’s own cycle, after leaving behind their own hollow, emotionless “shell” in the form of one final song.”
Given the thematic density of the single, the accompanying visual required vision equally as ambitious. The band entrusted frontman/director Nick Holland to take on the task of materializing a concept derived from early 2000s video games like Fatal Frame and Eternal Darkness as well as cerebral horror staples Jacob’s Ladder, Kill List, and 8MM.
As fate would have it, the band would be forced to pivot when circumstances ultimately threw a wrench in the works and rendered their film crew, unavailable. Holland explains, “Indie filmmaking and punk/hardcore share a lot in common but I think the biggest thing is having to think on your feet while on a garrote-tight budget."
Holland goes onto detail how the adjustments resulted in a product better than what was initially intended. "We had two days spread across two weeks to shoot the video and the first day - the only day any of us had available to shoot the performance section - the crew we were going to film with were suddenly unavailable. We already made arrangements to film at an abandoned summer camp in the metro Detroit area and the only camera we found ourselves with access to that day was an old DSLR of mine that only shoots in 1080p with footage that looks something like a first generation GoPro. The obsolete quality looked like older CCTV footage and it gave me the idea of mounting the camera in various angles to play to that and make it look like surveillance footage on a damaged VHS tape."
Holland goes on to share how the idea of surveillance footage played into the narrative of the single. "Who would be watching surveillance footage of a band and why would they be jamming in this of all places? All I could think of was casting my friend Dustin Prince who is an actor I’ve worked with several times as a detective attempting to obtain some kind of information from the tape, but I didn’t want to just leave it at that and accept it as music video logic. I wanted to actually give him a reason for watching."
Knowing it had to in some way play into themes of the song itself, we chased the idea of insomnia and embodied the desire for sleep as an elusive cryptid we called the ‘Cicada Man’ whose exoskeleton is made of the character’s discarded notes of paper. Of course the cop out ‘it was all just a dream’ ending might seem like an easy route, but so much of it felt like the hazy, half remembered details of a fever dream to begin with."
The visual not only underscores the band's prowess as DIY specialists, but also reiterates a sense of ingenuity that shines throughout their brand - both on record and on film.
"Sleep A Cicada Would Envy" is currently available via Smartpunk Records - HERE