Hong Kong-based rock group Prune Deer (話梅鹿) made their return last week with their brash single “Return,” featuring a very familiar voice in the Asian indie scene: Japanese experimental musician harunemuri 春ねむり (Haruna Kimishima). Though the two up-and-coming groups come from very different countries, “Return” manages to find the best of both genres, creating a solid sonic mash-up between Prune Deer’s uplifting instrumentals (2018’s Chemistry) and harunemuri’s playfully experimental style (2018’s harutosyura).
“Return” is a forceful, spoken word tornado of a song, driven by Kimishima’s life-affirming vocals that drive its narrative. Those head-spinning moments on harutosyura, from the frantic vocal remixing to the rapidly rewinding vocal delivery, shine even brighter against Prune Deer’s grand instrumentals. “Return” exists on an epic scale–as the collapsing drums and guitars threaten to create chaos, Kimishima adds to the fire by spitting challenging lyrics like “Don’t know that my life has withered during sad times / Don’t want to hurt anyone / So I kill everyone’s melody”. In an instant, the tumultuous world they have birthed a new life of its own, creating beauty amidst the chaos.
Even more captivating is Prune Deer and harunemuri’s joint music video, which channels a lo-fi aesthetic and artful guerilla camerawork of both groups in Hong Kong. Though it’s not technically pretty to look at, there’s a disorganized messiness here that finds wonder in even the most blurried of shots.
As the shockwaves of sound and destructive vocals tide you over, “Return” is an unflinching reminder of the power of these two wildly different bands, and the astonishing beauty they can achieve when they work together.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.