Dugong Jr. – Holding On (Ft. Austen)

On the face of it, Dugong Jr.’s ‘Holding On’ is a simple enough indie-pop track. Immediately ready for the dance, instantly accessible for a sing-along, everything here is pleasing. But there’s more going on here than the simple enough indie-pop track. Lines are drawn with chalk, they’re soft and dissolving. There’s more substance and subterfuge than the typical radio fodder of this ilk.

Inviting Austen to feature on the track Dugong Jr accomplishes a couple of things. He lifts the roof off to show a natural talent. He also leans in to flirt with a sound not dissimilar to his own; a kind of subversion of straight pop, that somehow heightens the effect. Austen can fill a groove with her vocals, and she drags you in. Soothing at first, she lures you deeper into the challenge of the lyrics.

Lyrically, there’s darkness. A refusal to let go of things. The process of life itself is denied. Death comes, relationships close, and all things must pass. Here’s a discussion of the pain caused by failing to mature into the inevitabilities of existence. Yeah, in a groovy ‘little’ pop track.

Speaking of ‘Holding On’ Dugong Jr said,  “The song itself is about the idea of creating this sort of idealistic image of what a relationship is or was, kind of living in denial and holding on to that even if it’s detrimental to an individual… In the music video, I wanted to represent an abstract adaptation of the same kind of idea but have it be more visually quirky and weird. So I came up with the idea of stuffing your family pet and holding on to the memory of it (long past an acceptable timeframe).””

The video, like the song, achieves something more than the typical. The playfulness around the edge of the darker elements create a humor that’s bleak, dislocating, and better than beautiful. What’s life if not odd as fuck?

With ‘Holding On’ Dugong Jr continues a trajectory that was set with the intriguing White Hearts EP. This release, early in the year signals something bigger from 2019 from a truly beguiling producer.


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