Having undertaken some serious shadow work on their personal origin stories, Meanjin trio Sacred Hearts have laid their revelations down on their new track, delving deep into the mess of moments that made them who they are and pressing them to record with ‘Catholic Guilt’, a double-single epic that speaks to the impacts of organised religion on early childhood, invoking both the light and dark sides of post-punk to do so.
Beginning by capturing a joyous, blissed-out Summer’s eve, ‘Catholic Guilt’ quickly spirals into a storm and grows darker, as vocalist June Gray revisits a childhood strongly influenced by Catholicism. As if Chelsea Wolfe wrote a punk song, ‘Catholic Guilt’ parts I & II are both driven, charging cuts that touch on Gang of Four, Joy Division and at times Metro, but spending too much time in the spaces between to be defined as anything but Sacred Hearts. The artwork for the single shows off a piece fittingly by Naarm (Melbourne) brand Catholic Guilt, handmade by founder Ella Jackson.
Purposefully created to be a strikingly contrasted double-single, ‘Catholic Guilt’ isn’t just a flex of post-punk abilities, but storytelling ones too. “‘Catholic Guilt’ is my older self responding to my former Christian upbringing,” June says. “The lyrics were inspired by my heavily Catholic upbringing. One of my earliest memories is sitting in church as a small child and thinking about how pointless it was to be there. I dreaded Sunday mornings as that meant Sunday school and church. I knew from a young age that I didn’t believe in God, nor the restrictive and conservative laws of the Bible.
“One of the lines is directly from The Lord’s Prayer, which I vividly remember doing before bed as a child. It was something that scared me, super morbid looking back on it. Another line is a perverse version of the Hail Mary. Another prayer I did throughout primary and high school.”
Last year, BLUNT had the privilege of serving up the band’s debut single ‘Glamour Girls’, and clearly the act have spent much of that time sharpening their teeth. Now with a crowd of fans and industry types picking up what Sacred Hearts are putting down, we can rest assured more hard-earned home truths told in a bass-heavy manner are incoming.
Check out both parts of ‘Catholic Guilt’ below.