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Song You Need to Know: Darren Cross, ‘Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)’

A haunting visual accompaniment to the poetic, acoustic number, “Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)” appears on Darren Cross’ latest album, DISTORDER.

Close to two months on from the release of his latest album, Sydney’s Darren Cross has unveiled the music video for the reflective number, “Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)”.

With Australia in the midst of massive lockdowns, the first week of July saw Cross retreat into his studio to work on something creative as a means of escape while Sydney recorded ever-increasing case numbers. Emerging soon after, the fourth week of the month saw him unleash his latest record, with DISTORDER serving as something of a musical utopia.

With most tracks on the record written within the last year, some ideas stretch back far further, with one each written in in 1991 and 2004, and another couple from 2010. The result is a mesmerising collection of compositions, with tracks such as “Psychic Scum”, “Memory Lanes”, and “Are You S S Are?” showcasing Cross’ versatility as an artist.

However, one of the most arresting tracks on the record is that of “Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)”, a folky, mostly acoustic number which feels evocative of the likes of Nick Drake as Cross’ poetic vocals and hypnotic vocals overtake the listener across its three-and-a-half-minute runtime. However, despite sounding like a response to the two years that have been, the track’s origins lie within a simpler, but by no means less tumultuous, time.

“‘Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)’ was written way before Covid came and spolit the party, around the beginning of 2019,” Cross explains. “The track that ended up on DISTORDER was recorded in one take as a demo, with percussion added three years later.

“Each verse is just an idea of things that were floating around my life at the time, shrouded in personal codes – going down the Rabbit Hole of experience, turmoil, beauty, self realisations and frustrations. When I was collating DISTORDER in this second lockdown, the track just begged for inclusion on the album. A nod to my folkie pursuits… the muse was pleased.”

Now, Cross has unveiled the official video for the track, teaming up with Jessica Cassar on directorial duties to deliver a haunting representation of the song, as a dimly-lit performance from Cross is overlaid with VHS-style effects, a French translation of the lyrics appears on-screen, and is book-ended by a rather literal approach to the title, with Cross donning and removing a rabbit mask.

A stunning visual accompaniment to an already-masterful composition, “Rabbit Hole (Polka Dot)” is available on Cross’ DISTORDER album, which is a Bandcamp exclusive, but is also available on a limited run of physical CDs.

Darren Cross’ DISTORDER is out now.