Pshonka shows us the bilingual music of her subconscious.
Pshonka – Cities of Skin
There are plenty of songs written about dreams, and dreamers, but few about the actual experience of dreaming – the actual act of falling asleep and hallucinating vividly for several hours. We can just about remember the surreal reality-crumbling feeling of being in dreams – but if you need a reminder, Pshonka’s song ‘Cities of Skin’ captures it magnificently.
Pshonka is a Ukranian-born, Australian-raised singer-songwriter, returning with a new EP which includes this title track, ‘Cities of Skin’.
‘Cities of Skin’ is a richly dark synth-pop ode to dreams and dystopia, often treading the line between dream and nightmare.
‘I’m dreaming again of a planet’, opens the song, which goes on to present disturbing imagery, – ‘it’s filled with cement, cities of skin’ – all delivered in Pshonka’s rich, aching vocals. She evokes the strange familiarity of dreams – ‘I’ve seen this play before…I hope that I wake up’ – and the creative addition of Russian lyrics alongside English ones only adds to the surreal atmosphere. The melodies are also subtle yet haunting.
Starting with only sombre piano chords, the production builds to an unnerving yet inevitable climax, as finger snaps give way to a seemingly inexorable snare drum playing a military march. With its 80s synths and kooky vibes, Kate Bush is an obvious and just comparison, but there’s also orchestral influences in the arrangement, with what seems to be piping woodwind. It might be a little too dark for everyone’s taste, but this is a track absolutely drenched in atmosphere and imagination – and if that’s anything to go by, the titular EP will be too.
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