Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton find ‘space for each other to be a bit dorky’

Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton find ‘space for each other to be a bit dorky’

Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton
Words by Elsie Lange

The prolific duo forged in friendship and a desire to be a little more earnest have delivered their fourth album in three years, Something Is Going to Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You Say?, and it's packed with life-affirming odes to camaraderie, love and acceptance. 

Two years ago, Emma Russack and Lachlan Denton played a stripped-back set of their songs at Brunswick East venue Noisy Ritual, and they laughed a lot. 

From the way they spoke, bantered and teased, it was clear they were more than just two people who wanted to write hot hits together – they were great friends who loved what they were doing. And they made everyone in the audience feel like their friends too. 

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That’s how their latest record, Something Is Going to Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You Say?, triumphs. It’s welcoming, like an embrace, the soaring tracks brimming with humility.

Recorded in about twelve hours onto tape with Good Morning’s Stefan Blaire and Liam Parsons at the desk, and Liam Halliwell and Dylan Young on bass and drums, you can hear the joyful ease of the process, sort of like a mic was placed in the room while they were just having fun. 

“I didn’t think we’d be able to do it, but we did, and I think it was because Liam and Stefan were so good to work with and we just all had a really lovely time,” Emma says. 

The album title is found in tracks which bookend the record, fading in and out with words chanted along to chugging drums, following the guitar lead like a hopeful manifesto. 

“It feels like it’s relevant to sort of everyone,” Lachlan says. “In a way, you could say it’s a very ‘nothing’ thing to say, but at the same time, it’s probably just as relevant to some like, conspiracy theorist who’s in the city protesting, or someone who’s a nurse working on the front line of a hospital.”

“It’s becoming more and more poignant, that song, because I mean, and aside from Covid stuff, you do start to realise that things can change so quickly, and you can’t take anything for granted,” Emma says. 

Emma and Lachlan both have respective solo projects, as well as playing in other bands, and are considered a couple of the city’s best songwriters. But it’s as a duo they feel easy being themselves, in all their goofy glory. 

“That’s what this project is about, it’s about being those two people and then making music together, hopefully making a really comfortable space for each other to be a bit dorky,” Lachlan says.

“That’s the goal, is to not be filtered, just to write the songs.” 

“I think my writing style changes when I know it’s for an Emma and Lachlan album, I feel a little bit freer,” Emma says. “I feel I don’t have to be cool, or something.”

The atmosphere of the album is warm, familial and candid, like sitting in a living room after a winey dinner while they jump from instrument to instrument. In the song ‘Authenticity’, Lachlan sings “I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be, nobody handed me a brief. Not sure the book that I’m supposed to read, I guess I landed on my feet”. In ‘That Love of Mine’, Emma sings “And I wonder where you get your strength from, ‘cause it’s not from me, that’s plain to see.”

These generous, self-deprecating lyrics are sung in catchy, harmonised melodies, to songs which sometimes swell with piano and guitar or pull back with sparser arrangements, but as a whole create an album which will bring listeners into the room with them, euphoric.

“It’s just a project that is less about image and more about friendship, to be completely cheesy,” Emma says. 

Something Is Going to Change Tomorrow, Today. What Will You Do? What Will You Say? is out October 8 via Spunk Records