Trigger warning: This article contains discussions around forced marriage, labour exploitation or sexual exploitation
If you or anyone you know are in need of assistance escaping a domestic violence situation, help is available through White Ribbon Australia (1800RESPECT, 1800 737 732) and the Mens Help Line (1300 789 978).
It’s not every day that we get the chance to rock along for a good cause, so when it comes, you know that Blunt Magazine is going to grab ahold of it with white-knuckled intensity. Sydney troupe Before The King have today come good with such an opportunity, combining the release of their new single ‘Mary Lou’ with an initiative to support anti-slavery organisation The Freedom Hub. That, dear readers, is a groove we can all get down to.
“We feel very passionate about this issue,” lyricist Dean Smusko says of the collaboration. “It’s mind-boggling that slavery still exists in the modern world. That’s why we need amazing organisations like the Freedom Hub to bring awareness to these issues, and to work towards creating a safer world for all. We’d like to help that cause, and we know our fans would too.”
For context (via Anti-Slavery Australia), it’s believed there’s more than 40 million human beings living in forced slavery conditions in 2021, almost 2,000 of which are believed to be living in Australia. Of that, only 1 in 5 will be rescued, equating to roughly 21 criminal charges for every 841 cases of forced marriage, labour exploitation or sexual exploitation brought to police attention.
Before The King have been making an awful lot of noise from their Inner West rehearsal space as they belt out a series of singles including, ‘You Might Think You’re Right…’, ‘Low Expectations’ and ‘Argentina’, all of which set us up nicely for the retro-tinged, ’60s call-back, big collar, bell-bottom jeaned ditty that is ‘Mary Lou’. With moody troughs and breezy peaks, ‘Mary Lou’ glides with the effortless panache of a peregrine. But hidden within the shimmering riffs and blissed-out tap-a-tap-a drums is a far grittier narrative.
“‘Mary Lou’ is an unusually upbeat take on the perils of traversing a tricky relationship,” lyricist Dean Smusko explains. “The title character is painted as prickly and volatile, and the music tries to woo her with jangling guitars, and crooning ’60s vocals. It contrasts starkly with our previous single, ‘You Might Think You’re Right…’, which serves as a critique on modern relationships and toxic masculinity. With this one, we juxtapose Mary Lou’s dysfunctional character, with a playful, summery cruiser.”
Indeed, since their inception just last year, Before The King have made somewhat of a habit of smuggling across big messages in bite-sized indie rock packages. From the perils of relationships in 2021 to regressive prescribed male behavioural traits, in a short period of time, they’ve made it clear no issue is too cumbersome. As with previous singles, Before The King are using ‘Mary Lou’ as a vehicle to incite change, allowing fans the opportunity to donate to The Freedom Hub and inviting all those who attend the release’s single launch to give back.
Check out the new single from Before The King below.
Before The King ‘Mary Lou’ Single Launch
Free entry with a gold coin donation to The Freedom Hub.
Saturday, 3rd July
Botany View Hotel, Sydney