You’ve just finished an epic three album exploration of the various stages of grief, so how on earth do you follow that up? That was the question facing James Machin, the multi-instrumentalist lurking behind the Grawl!x name. Having shared the final part of the trilogy, Appendix, back in 2018, Grawl!x return next month with a brand new single, Epicene, the video for which we’re sharing here today.
Epicene is a step away from grief and into an ambitious exploration of sex and gender. James collaborated closely with Jo Lewis of UMBILICA, as he explains, “Jo was very patient in helping me square up to the realities of a patriarchal society. I always liked to think of myself as a feminist but realise I have a lot to learn”. Jo’s presence isn’t just solely as a feminism consultant, as the track morphed into a duet between the two. Lyrically the track muses on, “the limitations of societal gender roles and the way we’re conditioned throughout or lives, but particularly in childhood, to fit one of two shapes”.
It’s not only thematically but also musically that Epicene is a change of direction, an ever eclectic, and hard to pin-down songwriter, here James channels an almost primal rhythm with a fluttering piano line, creating an atmosphere of tropical-pop colliding into neo-classical creativity. The brightness of the music is perfectly contrasted with the dual vocals that feel ethereal and distant.
The accompanying video was also a collaborative affair, James, a short-film maker in his own right, employed a team of filmmakers and CGI animators, to create a piece somewhere between a short-movie and a music video. Like the track, the video seems to chart ideas of gender and togetherness, as James ultimately concludes, “might sound a mite trite but essentially we’re not all that different from each other really, are we?” We certainly wouldn’t argue with that; Epicene might just be the breath of unjudgemental, delightful, inspirational fresh air the world needs!
Epicene is out July 19th via Reckless Yes. Click HERE for more information on Grawl!x