Released yesterday, 4 October, ‘Thorazine Bender’ is the latest single from heavy pop duo, Instant Smile, who are out of Athens Georgia. The track is from their new EP, ‘4 x 2’, released at the same time.
Comprising guitarist Greg Phoenix and drummer Erin Berry, the pair formed their band in 2013, and draw inspiration from the music of 60s and 70s pop, with clear psych, classic rock, and prog influences.
New single, ‘Thorazine Bender’, comes rushing out the gate with a heavy duty psych sound, transporting the listener back to the 1960s; close your eyes and you could be forgiven for thinking it was genuinely from that era, rather than a modern take on the sound. The duo give each other room to express their talents – such as Greg’s “Shadows-esque” solos, and Erin’s frenetic pounding of drums and cymbals. This is a pair who knows that success is about allowing the other to shine and knowing when to do it themselves.
The music video that accompanies ‘Thorazine Bender’ is equally as trippy, blending footage of the duo performing in the studio with archival clips of scientific experiments, newspaper clippings about genetic engineering, public service films, and cartoons. It’s sinister and dark, and all the while Phoenix and Berry are giving it socks, blasting it out for just under 3 minutes. The brevity of the song doesn’t detract from it in any way; in fact, it probably has quite the opposite effect, in that it gets its message across succinctly and powerfully, without any added fluff.
As for the title of the track, ‘Thorazine Bender’ – it’s named for an anti-psychotic drug, primarily used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, but also the treatment of bipolar disorder, severe behavioral problems in children including those with ADHD, nausea and vomiting, anxiety before surgery, and hiccups that do not improve following other measures. Wow. If one was on a “Thorazine bender”, they might experience involuntary, repetitive body movements a feeling of inner restlessness and inability to stay still. It’s fitting therefore that the video has a scatty, disjointed vibe to it, giving the impression of what it might actually feel like.