New Clan of Xymox Track ‘Brave New World’ Poignantly Captures Our Ongoing Pandemic Anxieties
Considering we’ve spent the last seventeen months living through a health crisis that took more than four million lives globally, one might reasonably expect that art would have addressed precisely that situation with the greatest urgency and insightfulness. Yet the cultural community has seemed relatively silent, at least where any truly substantive response might be concerned.
But darkwave legends Clan of Xymox have always had a particular aptitude for viscerally capturing the moment, in a way that helps us to decisively cut through all the confusion and disquietude that existence never seems to stop throwing our way. Last July, we caught up with Ronny Moorings after the band had cut short a US tour – due to the impending travel restrictions – and returned safely to Amsterdam, to chat about their new single ‘All I Ever Know.’ The song was all about affirming the gravity and dignity of lasting love, at a time when we really needed all the positive affirmations we could get.
Last Friday, July 23, they released their 16th album Limbo (via Metropolis Records). It is quite fittingly titled, considering another wave of the coronavirus – the Delta Variant – is currently sweeping across Europe and America, leaving us trapped somewhere between cautious hope and utter panic. One track in particular, ‘Brave New World,’ strikes the zeitgeist notes most incisively, with its poignant explication of “second wave” anxiety and fear.
“Inside of my mind, I run through the fields
I run through the woods, I run for my life
Inside of my mind, I run for my life
I run through the years, I want to get out of here”
“I wrote this in November 2020,” he recalls. “We had a bit of ‘freedom’ in the summer and I expected all would be back to normal, until they put us in the second lockdown. Of course writers like Aldous Huxley or George Orwell come immediately in mind. It is about this dystopian society we are living in right now. Our freedom is still under discussion and there is no end to the entire thing yet. It will last a long time before things will feel normal again.”
Musically, the song is noticeably more sonically minimalistic than one might normally expect of Clan of Xymox, almost recalling the stark melancholia of pre-‘Blue Monday’ New Order. But the tension is vivid and palpable, and surely perfectly suited to the deadly uncertainty swirling all around us, as we navigate the second summer of COVID.
Moorings observes, “So far there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and our mental health is under severe attack. Each time there is hope for getting back our lives it is crushed again by new variants on the block. So yes, it is entirely dedicated to this period, as it is one of the most abrasive events of our lives.”