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Song You Need to Know: Happy Axe, ‘Growing in The Ground’

The first new track from Canberra’s Happy Axe this year, “Growing in The Ground” is equal parts haunting and luscious.

Jeff Andersen Jnr*

Months on from the release of her last single, Canberra’s Happy Axe (that is, multi-instrumentalist and musical polymath Emma Kelly) has returned with the first taste of new material this year, sharing the alluring “Growing in The Ground” today.

Releasing her debut album – Dream Punching – back in 2018, the record soon became a cult favourite for fans of hypnotic ambient pop music. Sharing the Stromlo EP in 2019 (a 41-minute piece of “seamless improvisation”), Happy Axe last followed things up with July’s “Running Away”, proving that the success of the debut record was no fluke.

Now, “Growing in The Ground” has continued to showcase the continued growth and exploration of this celebrated artist.

Earmarked by mesmerising vocals, lush strings, and a complex mix of stunning instrumentation, a repetitive, shuddering rhythm turns “Growing in The Ground” into an inescapable piece of three-minute dark pop that commands your attention at every turn.

Featuring production assistance from fellow musical polymath and Spirit Level label-mate Braille Face, the track highlights a newfound sense of clarity and confidence, with nature’s magical power to inspire revelation serving as the inspiration behind the arresting single.

“My friend Anna and I went on a camping trip and arrived after dark,” explains Kelly. “Having set up our tents we still wanted to go and explore even though the light had disappeared. As we walked down a bush track in the dark we decided to turn our torches off to see how it looked, and we realised we were standing between two walls of earth covered in a million glow worms.

“This song is about the walk and also me discovering more about Anna as a friend and how people who at first seem tough reveal their softness after a while.”

Mesmerising and moving, “Growing in The Ground” might be the first taste of new music from Happy Axe this year, but hopefully not the last, with news of further activity ostensibly set to arrive in the near future.

Happy Axe’s “Growing in The Ground” is officially released today via Spirit Level.