Some music is better made at a steady pace, with a point, aim and method. For HTRK, each release cycle has come with a purpose. Their music, a result of their steadiness and narrative, gathers a range of emotions and desolate sounds that best represent their havoc. Before the burdened, yet fantastic, Psychic 9-5 Club, the Melbourne duo encountered turmoil, rebirth, readjustment, mourning and acceptance.

In recent years HTRK have experienced the death of their bandmate Sean Stewart and close collaborator Rowland S. Howard, a poor adjustment to Berlin and a period in London before relocating again back to Melbourne. HTRK have carved these experiences in tender lyrics and hypnotic, musical spirals, creating a vessel immersed in eerie romance, clinical analogies and inflicted pain, to showcase their story. Venus in Leo marks the start of a new chapter with a clean slate, where both Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang rely on each other to move on unburned into the future.

Delightfully dramatic with a romantic nature, these are two characteristics that best describe someone with Venus, the planet that governs courtship and adoration, in Leo, along with devotion, indulgence in romance while longing for safety. Obsession for love? Maybe. These are traits easily found in HTRK’s music, disguised in details, half-words written in lyrics that channel platonic fantasies embraced by loss.

Recorded in their home studio outside of Melbourne, Venus in Leo initiates a new chapter, and among these nine brand new tracks, we hear reflection, experimentation while preserving an atmosphere of cautious lust and reflection, fencing with self-destruction and oblivion. ‘Into The Drama’ opens with loose notes on acoustic guitars, lyrics spiraling into repetition, lusting for tension. Drenched in minimal melancholy, ‘Mentions’ covers the struggles of physical intimacy, as does first single ‘You Know How To Make Me Happy’. A clear highlight and a dignifying introduction to Venus in Leo, ‘You Know How To Make Me Happy’ is an ode to being vulnerable. By allowing fragile states to shine, the honesty and simplicity embedded in these words, faded chords and layers of reverb reassure HTRK, once again, of their identity and their path: a band knowledgeable of their skill while sharing their baggage as a way towards a new beginning.

To this point, it’s clear that with Venus in Leo, HTRK have taken a step higher, using desolation to their advantage. With an eye for detail and fondness for obsessive downward spirals, they have made their first album in five years comfortably fitting of their sensual and aching mystiques.