Perth duo amor. bring together R&B and D&B on ‘don’t follow’
Perth-based duo amor., made up of singer-songwriter Aidan Walsh (OutInd) and producer Dylan Guy, are back with their first single of 2022, ‘don’t follow’. Produced by both Aidan and Dylan, the track centres on the difficulty of accepting love when we’re dealing with inner demons. The alternative R&B outfit depart from the more downtempo vibes of their 2021 collaborations with Kayps and Mali Jo$e, instead turning to a thumping drum and bass beat. Sure, D&B is having a moment, but don’t think that ‘don’t follow’ is just hopping on a trend. The song has guts.
The beginning of the track is an ambient, swirling dreamscape: birds chirping, the crackling of vinyl, layered reversed guitars and breathy vocal accents. It’s zen, miles from the self-doubt that’s soon to come. The verse fades into phased finger-plucked guitar, retaining the tranquillity of the intro. The lyrics are anything but tranquil. An image of “deep water” and the speaker’s plea of “my mind grows louder” make it clear that he’s in over his head. He can’t escape the dark and frantic inner workings of his mind. Even as his would-be lover pulls him closer, he repeats “I was nothing. I was nothing.” The speaker is desperate to make sense of himself and the world, but he won’t accept help.
The track proceeds with the chorus hitting with a melodic bass and intoxicating D&B drums. At first listen, it’s sweet, atmospheric vocals layered over a beat that’ll have you bopping your head in public or itching to sprint home instead of walk. Listen closer, though, and the vocalist is at his most vulnerable. He lets go, begging for space: “I don’t wanna see you no more, so leave me as I am, don’t follow.” He feels like damaged goods: “My demons lie with me for the summer”. We don’t know why the speaker is pushing his loved one away. Perhaps he doesn’t want them to get hurt. Maybe he’s protecting himself instead, focusing inwards as his head gets turbulent. Either way, he needs to be alone. The post-chorus is a boppy conversation between synth and guitar, again in complete contrast to the emotional torment laid bare in the lyrics.
The second verse continues this downcast mood but litters in images of nostalgia. The speaker is caught between the pain of his present and the beauty offered by his memories. He is emotionally vacant, “tearing up but no cry”, and struggling to connect, “human connection fades into light”. At the same time though, he recalls “sunsets beneath streetlights” and “red eyes, warm nights”. In this back-and-forth between pleasure and pain, we hear the speaker’s confusion. He is overwhelmed and nihilistic, but he’s also somewhat hopeful.
The track rounds out with an extended outro that calls back to the serenity of the intro. The intensity of the chorus falls away, and we’re left with peaceful electric guitar, soaked in reverb. It’s gorgeous and hypnotic. Even after the uphill battle of sorting through the mess of our minds, we’re left with beauty and wonder. Everything’s okay in the end.
Photos by @soza.pidgeon
Words by Portia Brajkovic