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Art Pop Maxi-Single Review: "Lovers and Losers" by Logan Sky and Steven Jones

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Logan Sky and Steven Jones’ maxi-single “Lovers and Losers” is full of ice, shadows and emotionally jagged terrain as it explores Logan Sky’s cool synth sounds and lyrics sung by Steven Jones that explore the complications of existing.

“Lovers and Losers” begins with a high, fluting series of synth tones that are joined by an oscillating, shifting wash of medium-high synth that drifts and repeats. The melody feels a little distant while Steven Jones’ vocals slide in, cool and sibilant, as an arpeggiating series of medium-high notes float through the song.

A harsh slice of gritty synth cuts in over the pulsing beat and the disconnected flow of airy sound swirling around it. There are snatches of Jan Linton’s e-bow floating through the music along with snippets of his zhongruan (a Chinese stringed instrument similar to a guitar).

Gary Barnacle’s alto sax sings into the track, adding an emotional and slightly melancholy solo as the beat bounces and shifts. The distant, ghostly string sounds of the e-bow move into the background as well.

A disintegrating relationship is at the heart of “Lovers and Losers.” The song is full of bitterness, anger and resignation. Bitterness drips from the words of the opening line that say, “Talk to me in bad faith, you’re a reckless chancer, challenge me from across the board.” The narrator speaks of the other character “mouthing clichés devoid of meaning.”

The words of the chorus illustrate how quickly “lovers turn into losers” like actors forgetting their lines or players “cheating their final cards.”

The narrator elucidates a “chill betrayal” as the bonds that hold the characters dissolve. There is loss and ache in the lines, “Fake the smile and say goodbye. We were dreaming desperate fantasies.” When everything is stripped bare, the characters are left with their hearts “open, without feeling.”

Deep, shifting notes with a flickering arpeggio over the top and the sax swelling passionately in to the music, full of reedy warmth kick off the "Extended Remix” as those big, heavy drums throb deeply into the background. The whole track feels smoother and less dark than the original as the arpeggios swim and swell over the deep moving bass line underneath them.

The smooth beat throbs through the song as the arpeggios keep whirling around them, chopped up pieces of vocal cutting in and out. The track feels less icy and a bit more ethereal, but there are still sharp sounds that cut into the music.

The “Vandal Moon Remix” comes to life with darkly throbbing bass, feeling vaguely threatening with harsh growling distortion that trembles through the music. The vocals are shadowed, breaking into the middle of the song as ghostly drifting sounds move behind them.

The heavy bass growls underneath everything and the disembodied drift of melting sounds flow together over the depths under them. Everything seems to move into a vast cavernous space on this track. The sax is also more distant and lost in the remix.

The same steady oscillation that started off the original track movies through as the “May Be Horizon Remix” kicks off, but this time there’s more melancholy to things with broken vocals drifting and floating through.

There’s more of a surge and pulse to the track, the tempo slightly higher and the vocals feeling a little more subdued. The pulsing, shifting bass line has true depth as heavy crashes of sound clash along with it.

“Politics and Gesture” starts with a deep, hard-edged pulse of synth and a ghostly vocal sound moving over it. Steven Jones’ voice carries the ice cold vocal melody. This is dark and shadowed music as the drums throb out in bursts and cutting synths move along with distorted twists of sound.

The whole atmosphere swirls over the gritty edge of sound under it. With the chorus comes the beat and more jagged slashes of synth sound. There’s a higher wave of sound moving behind it, lost and wandering.

The cynicism and corruption of the political classes comes in for a skewering in this song. As it begins, it’s “another morning, it’s another headline” and once again a political figure is “intoning from your script” as the song points out Once more, the rhetoric that they use does nothing but “push the boundaries of credulity.”

“Politics and gesture” is what they chorus speaks of as “the stage is set, the limelight flares” but ultimately the “words are empty, no one really cares.”

There’s another discussion in which the politician will, “avoid the question, roll your eyes and stare.” The truth is set aside for “ another impact, another phoney scare.” The politician is, in the words of the song, “getting paid for every brittle word” and it’s “okay to take a view when the subject’s so absurd.”

The song asks the politician, “Did you make a proposal? Do a deal and sign your life away?” It ends by talking of how this person is “compliant, docile, subject to decay.”