Russell Joslin is a British singer/songwriter, who started his career as an acoustic folk artist. Joslin’s latest project, Russell Joslin & High Black Water was founded during pandemic-related lockdowns and is marked departure from his pervious work: the project sees the British artist pushing his sound in a more experimental direction with Joslin drawing from 80s electro pop and synth pop like Depeche Mode, Suicide, Black, Sebastian, Kavinksy and 80s British post punk paired with a heady blend of vocal harmonies, flute and fingerpicked guitar.
Thematically, the project sees Joslin discussing issues like masculinity, guilt, anxiety, self-destruction, urban violence and drug and alcohol abuse with an unvarnished honesty.
Joslin’s first single of 2022, “Streetlight” is a heady mix of glistening synths, thumping dance floor friendly beats, fluttering flute, strummed acoustic guitar and the British singer/songwriter’s plaintive vocals that sonically recalls Daughn Gibson and POND.
But underneath the glittery disco floor vibes, the song captures London’s late-night/early morning booze and drug fueled exploits and its impact on the city’s late night workforce. The song’s narrator wonders how an exhausted and jaded Uber driver, cleaning person, subway worker and so on process the drug and booze fueled exploits they see as they’re on their way home — or as they start yet another endless graveyard shift.
“The song started with the guitar part, I was using a new delay and managed to make a sound which reminded me of the police helicopters which circle South Tottenham almost every night in the early hours,” Joslin explains. “From there my memory drifted to the numerous times I have seen violent situations on the street on my cab ride home from my night shifts and how that made me feel – the guilt at not doing anything to help … the strange, unspoken situation it created with the cab driver. I had to pull the melody and the arrangement out of the guitar part production-wise, I always heard it as a nocturnal driving song, I wanted to try and create that atmosphere.”
Joslin will be releasing Russel Joslin & High Black Water material throughout the rest of the year. A full-length album is currently slated for a 2023 release.