Released July 4, 2016
By Larissa Blokhuis
Reload, the first track released by Saint PHNX, is an anthem that declares the start of a new direction for the Jukes brothers (Stevie: vocals/guitar, Alan: drums). It’s got an exciting, pump-up vibe, and a catchy melody that makes you want to dance. This single has a bigger, edgier rock sound than music made with their previous 5-man band, Vigo Thieves. Reload is currently a stand-alone release, to be followed by a debut show in Glasgow on the 21st of July.
On the content of both the lyrics and the music video, frontman Stevie says, “it seems to us that we never learn from our mistakes, we just reload.” The opening lines and scenes put this idea forward quickly:
Say what you mean and I’m ready to go,
I’m telling the troops,
my head’s spinning out of control,
so reload, reload, reload
We see historical military footage cut with scenes of the band playing, all in camouflage tones. Several dictators under whom military action spun out of control are featured in the historical clips, as well as Donald Trump who threatens us with a future dictatorship.
The lyrics, “I only want to open your eyes,” and “you make me want to touch the sky,” are repeated throughout the song, and are more ambiguous in meaning. With the first line, I think of how the assumptions of the aggressor prevent empathy or understanding in a military conflict. We should instead open our eyes and see that every action and reaction has a logic behind it, even if the logic is not clear to us. The second line reminds us of what we fight for, the people we love. Love can embolden us to do great things, but fear of losing those we love can lead to rash acts, even war. Taken together, we’re stuck in a cycle of misunderstanding and fear. That being said, this interpretation is just one, and the ambiguity of the lyrics leaves space for re-interpretation and re-connection with more listens.
Early comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age are well met by the band. They also have some similarity to Torche without being metal, and to Cloud Nothings without being quite as indie. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the album currently in the works changes or re-affirms first impressions of Saint PHNX.