Lil Sprout: TFD’s “Him”

Written by Travis Shosa

Consisting of Torquil Campbell (Stars) and Stephen Ramsay (Young Galaxy), TFD, or Total Fucking Darkness, lurk in the murky shadows of the late-80s/early-90s rave culture. Their bodies cocktails of amphetamines and opioids, drenched in sweat freshly squeezed by the dance floor, TFD whisper incendiary suggestions of violent political upheaval like a dirty secret: with the same lustful sensuality as a coital proposition in the bathroom of a seedy club. Listing Pet Shop Boys as a primary influence, the duo carves out soft, hypnotic grooves with fat and airy synthesizers. In that sense, there is a refinement and a poshness to their music on a fundamental level. But the darkness is ever-lingering like smoke in the air: patiently waiting to envelop its hopeless prey.

Whereas TFD’s self-titled debut single called for “death to the politicians and the women who live with them” and cheekily embraced cultural rock bottom (“If there’s nothing left to lose / It can only get better”), their second single, “Him,” addresses the intrapersonal anguish of romantic loss. Laying down a Balearic beat driven by a predominant cowbell rhythm, Campbell sings of Kerry, who “came into a room like she was brand new.” Though enamored, he implies that there was always an unbroachable distance between them: placing her on a pedestal as an “angel” while ultimately acknowledging that they were only ever “him” and “her” to each other over 11 years. Even after she’s left the city, he still can’t let go: doomed to long for something that isn’t there.

For more TFD, you can listen to their debut single, “The TFD”:

Travis Shosa is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stamens/Pistils/Parties. Formerly the runner of COUNTERZINE, he has bylines at Pitchfork, The Alternative, and Post-Trash among others.

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