Independent Psych Rock princess Rose Haze has been making waves in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene with exciting releases of experimental dream-pop psychedelia, and Disco Vampire is another fun song, perfect for musing as you dance along. Stoned in a Zoom Quarantine party? Ask the DJ to give this one a spin.
Right off the bat, we are presented with the vamp that will drive the song, a warm and intriguing bassy synth line. An electro-pop beat comes in shortly after, along with a bright saw synth pad that opens up, pulsates, and changes panning. As well as an arpeggiating eighties-inspired soft bell/chime synth. All these elements come together really nicely to set the mood for a dreamy and upbeat verse.
Haze lived in Kauai with her ex-boyfriend (and bandmate) and although their love was strong she had a gut feeling that one day he was going to break up with her. The lyrics reflect her fear but also her sassy attitude: “dream a little wilder maybe, forget what I said yesterday. You gotta help me push on through.” Roses’ voice is playful and the vocal melody suggests a hint of melancholy and Asian melodic influences.
After the first verse, the beat changes to a four on the floor, disco beat, and we are definitely dancing at this point. The hook is melodically similar to the verse, yet it presents a strong refrain. Rose’s vocals are layered in a natural and organic way; you can hear bits of the different layers stacked together to create a powerful and ever so slightly haunting sound. The vocal melody is also played by an electric violin in unison with the vocals adding to a cool 70’s disco flair.
In a short instrumental part that follows, the pedal-laden eclectic guitar comes in and takes the song into the Rose Haze signature sound. The stereo image is pleasant on the ear with the guitar coming from the front-center, the synths on the right, and the electric violin on the left. The bass synth provides a foundation and ties it all together.
The guitar takes on a grunge sound and continues to play on top in the second verse: panned to the left and complimenting the dysphoric notion of the lyrics:
“desolation from the ruler of your darkest thoughts, so cruel yeah”
When the refrain returns, we get a sense of cathartic relief, literally dancing away the pain of anxiety from a potential breakup. You can hear in Rose’s voice how much she wanted to hang on to the idea of the relationship, which is something pretty much anyone can relate to:
“speak the words I want you once more. Do you love me? I need to know”
Before the last verse comes in there’s a segment that features Rose’s talking voice, layered, creating what seems to be an expression of a stream of consciousness and mind chatter. All the while the electric guitar is creating a psychedelic meddling-with-pedals type of playing adding to the dreamy air of confusion this section is creating. We then transition into a Moog-sounding lead synth solo over a beat that now has additional percussive elements to it, adding to the emotional build-up that takes us all the way into the third and last verse.
“anxiety manipulates your insight. Mask the pain with humble true light”
The lyrics state as we transition back into a more pensive mood, returning to a simpler arrangement.
After revisiting the refrain, Rose repeats the phrase “do you love me? I need to know” concluding the meaning of the song, with the essence of young love. Love Bat For Lashes and Grimes? Rose Haze is their love child with a psych-rock guitarist, take a listen!