Premiere: Lobby Boy Yearn Through Starry Synthpop In New Single & Video, “Hold Me Still”
Since emerging half a century ago, synthpop has had a unique ability to encapsulate love of all shapes and sizes in song. With its boundless possibilities and versatile structure, it can zero in on the key aspects of romance, affection, and longing, each able to resonate with the complexities of human connection. There are tender and reticent ballads like “2Shy” by Shura and then there are grandiose and demanding jams like “I Belong In Your Arms” by Chairlift, as well as a thousand more that can fill the space between and around those iconic songs. Richmond’s own Lobby Boy is now joining the ranks of those memorable love songs drenched in electronic melodies. Their latest single, “Hold Me Still,” is an irresistible song that captures the idiosyncrasies of love with a soft, caring touch. Out everywhere on Wednesday, September 20th, it’s a song that will linger in your mind far after the electronics wind down, with a sweet enduring story that will outlast its infectious earworm. Today, The Auricular is proud to premiere this song as well as its accompanying music video a day before it is official release, which you can view and hear below.
Set against a racing heartbeat tempo and a playful yet earnest melody, “Hold Me Still” opens up as a club-ready song, instantly ready to move your head and feet along with the beat. Soon, Chez Goodspeed enters with a perfect vocal reverie that glides through the ethereal charm of the instruments, effortlessly infectious through opening notes before that central chorus stirs the soul. Affection and yearning drip from each note, piercing the emotional core in a way unusual for Lobby Boy. In the past, their songs have featured more glitchy breakbeats and trills or layered textures and filters that serve as their own dimension, parallel to the lyrics and vocals at times. Here, the vocal charm commands the song as everything helps to swell the passion and bliss, marking an exciting expansion for the already ingenious group.
The second verse is where the song really begins to impress though. Already established as a winsome ode, the song moves into a scene familiar to anyone in the early stages of a relationship. “Unfold the lore on porches where we met\ With faceless names and nameless faces you’ll soon forget,” sings Goodspeed, mirroring those moments where you share your own personal favorites from art and media with your new partner. It’s a milestone moment in new relationships, where each person hopes to impress the other with their depth and knowledge but also allow their new partner to share the connection so that it will grow alongside their love. The use of “lore” particularly here is notable, something that could apply to countless shows, films, or literature that carries a rich backstory. It’s here where “Hold Me Still” adds personality and character to a song, becoming less of a blanket statement or vague memory, and more of a personal recounting that can help guide and inspire others.
Typically, the great love songs of synthpop explore the periphery of emotion and connection, but here, Lobby Boy is zooming in on the details, moving the song into a space normally occupied by modern folk, indie rock, and hip-hop, genres that often zero in on the peculiar details of life and relationships. “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” by Father John Misty comes to mind in this regard, an unforgettable love song that uses quirky and distinctive details to build its overwhelming passion and devotion. Of course, it’s not just the use of “lore” that highlights this with Lobby Boy. There’s the impish central thought that drives the song’s melodic hook (“No neck I’d rather bite more\ If I do would you hold me still?) as well as the opening song lyric itself which modernizes itself by bringing attention to the complicated self-evolution people can grapple with before connecting with others (“I like the name you gave yourself\ That you thought about it for some time”). All of this combines to create a song that resonates on a deeply personal level, making it relatable to anyone who has experienced the journey of discovering love’s own idiosyncrasies.
In the video, the filmmakers — Dom Vizdos and Mike O’Connell from 5th World Spiral — embrace the timeless sound of synthpop with a retro aesthetic that frames it all as a lost camcorder relic, unearthed in a thrift store by happenstance before being obsessed over with the talent contained within. The band (minus Goodspeed) dawn devil outfits as they surround Goodspeed in the early throes of a relationship, pointing to how cautious the early stages of love often are as you try to keep your own inner demons and dreadful tendencies at bay. It’s a playful video that serves as a poignant reminder about how tenuous love truly is, something the video highlights with its closing shot of Goodspeed flanked by devils, separated by their paramour.
With both the song and video, Lobby Boy have given us an indelible love song that captures the essence of modern romance and affection. “Hold Me Still” is a bold step forward for an already ambitious band that shows how gifted they are even in more relaxed songwriting moments. It might not sound frenetic or cerebral like songs off of their 2022 record Pretty Songs / Pursuits of Personhood, but “Hold Me Still” is every bit as intricate, deliberate, and exhilarating. It’s a fascinating statement from a band with an expansive sonic vision that they are still exploring with dedication and excitement. Whichever direction they choose to go in next, it will be one everyone needs to follow.
“Hold Me Still” is out everywhere on Wednesday, September 20th and you can pre-save it now by clicking here. Make sure to follow Lobby Boy on social media to keep up-to-date on future releases and shows.