Augustine cares not about polish, but you might not know it from the video for his song “Luzon.” Throughout the video, the Swedish singer-songwriter (whose last name isn’t included in any of his press materials) traverses some of the most gorgeous streets, lined with rows of colorful homes, you’ll see in any recent music video. Where Augustine’s lack of interest in a slick varnish can be seen — or, rather, heard — is instead in his music, and “Luzon” is a striking example of the artist’s stark style.
Although “Luzon” is well-produced, it’s not so opulently recorded that moments of unrestrained intensity are erased. The song opens with gently oscillating synthetic pulsing that increasingly fervent percussion emphasizes. As Augustine wraps his instrumentation around himself, his voice seems to take a dip from a warbly whisper into a post-cigarette, splayed-atop-the-couch mumble before gradually easing upward in register. And then, the chorus hits.
When the chorus of “Luzon” arrives, Augustine so quickly leapfrogs into his falsetto that it sounds as though a featured artist is handling the chorus. But no — the lack of polish in Augustine’s music results in his not being concerned with the way his absurd falsetto at once pins in its peripheral frequencies and stings with a lo-fi grate not heard elsewhere in the song. As he sings, “Poppers in my head babe, yeah, you might just kill me off,” it’s as though he’s hoping his falsetto will reach so high that it takes him to outer space with it.
In a press release, Augustine states that “Luzon” is predicated on how he attaches himself “to artists, films and stories where the darker side is exposed and feels unpolished, just as life is.” The lack of polish on the frayed edges of his falsetto cleverly works towards this grander thematic statement. When Augustine does need a dash of polish, he seems to know exactly where to head — just watch the “Luzon” video to see for yourself.