Brooklyn’s Russian Baths released their debut album back in 2019. A year later, they’ve returned to album standout “Responder” for an entirely new “Night” version of the song. Where the original is a dark, driving rock song, the new take is haunted, twinkling like the midnight sky, with skittering drums, melancholy piano and an open road’s worth of atmosphere.
“I guess it’s also an exploration of the big 80s breakup love ballads of the Patty Smyth featuring Don Henley variation, but the dark sexual politics of the heartbreak are more explicit,” says the band’s Luke Koz. “This is the night version.” He adds, “I was listening to a lot of the xx and Sinead O’Connor when we wrote it and when re-recording it, I was listening to PJ Harvey almost exclusively. I wonder if this bleeds into the atmosphere.”
As for the themes of “Responder,” the band say, “A responder talks back, but does it listen? Not equipped with the tools to be vulnerable, one voice denies reality, refuses to connect, exerts more control, idolizing restraint (“the way I held every face card”) and admonishing its counterpart (“you way you scolded me”). With denial (to self and other), all’s bound to collapse. Both know it will happen. Neither wants it.”
“Responder (Night)” will be out for this week’s Bandcamp Friday but you can listen to it now, below.