After being diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer in early 2015, Melbourne native Adrian Slattery rushed to finish his band Big Smoke’s band’s debut album, recording it in the down time between a four-month regimen of chemotherapy and brain surgery. Slattery died in May, but before he passed, he asked Grammy-winning Alabama Shakes producer Shawn Everett to come to Australia to mix the LP. Everett flew to Melbourne in August to complete the project with the rest of the band, and the result of their labor is Time Is Golden, the bittersweet fruit of a talent taken too soon.
The album will be released at the end of the month, and today we’re premiering its excellent second single “Wrong,” a timeless, golden-hued heartland rocker that proves a worthy legacy. “‘Wrong’ is a tune that, as a band, we spent ages trying to get right,” says drummer Luke Brennan. “We had big dreams for it on the record, to bring it out of the realm of standard pop-rock and get to its emotional depth. In the mixing stage, this track was a favorite of Shawn’s, and I think he took it all the way.”
The song’s accompanying music video, directed by Slattery’s best friend Sean Lynch, shows several couples having their heads shaved separately and then seeing each other again. “In this video, the aim was to get participants to the same place of raw vulnerability you hear in Adrian’s voice on the track by stripping away the familiar — both physically and mentally — and then saving them from it,” Lynch says. “We allowed the partners to re-discover each other’s faces and see each other in a way they’d forgotten, capturing their journey through sincere, subconscious body language that reveals what we can’t hide — fear, regret, loneliness and ultimately pure joy.” Watch below.
Time Is Golden is out 10/28 via Barely Dressed.