Listen to The Belligerents’ first new song in four years, ‘Emily’

The band’s comeback started with a chance meeting at a birthday party

Brisbane indie-pop outfit The Belligerents have returned with their first material in four years, sharing the radiant new single ‘Emily’.

Released yesterday (October 8), the new cut features many of the hallmarks of a classic Belligerents track: warbly, psych-influenced guitars, spacey vocals and a techno-esque drum beat, all tied together with luminescent synths channeling the disco greats of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

It arrives alongside a cinematic film clip, following a service station cashier enamoured by a customer who takes to the aisles with electric and infectious dance moves. Take a look at the clip, directed by Bill Bleakley, below:


In a press release, frontman Lewis Stephenson explained that ‘Emily’ was written in 2019, shortly after he’d moved into a new house in Melbourne. “It was mainly written on a new Moog bass synth that I had just bought,” he said, “and it allowed me to experiment a lot with loops as things came together.

“It was a fairly quick process; it took about a day and then benefited a lot from taking it to Konstantin [Kersting, bassist and producer] and taking grooves into a much deeper place together. It’s about the ongoing feeling of being unable to please everyone.”

On the concept behind track’s film clip, Bleakley said: “The track has a big cinematic sound and the lyrics are really visual so it was a lot of fun to make a clip for. We wanted it to be about someone really bored at work in a service station, who lets their imagination take them on a kooky journey.”

‘Emily’ comes as The Belligerents’ first release since September 2017, when the band released their debut album, ‘Science Fiction’. They disappeared from social media towards the end of 2018, effectively having broken up until, yesterday’s press release notes, Stephenson and Kersting had a chance meeting at a birthday party in 2019.

“We had this late-night deep-and-meaningful. ‘The band isn’t over! We haven’t done the best we could!’ The whole spiel,” Kersting said in a new interview with triple j. “I had a week [free] and convinced Lewis to buy flight up to Brisbane on-the-spot. And he did.”


Stephenson added: “Once I flew up to Brisbane, Kon and I finished it together in about two hours… We have a good strategy with it now. I kind of started off and did the first 50 [per cent] of it, and Kon got his hands on it after that and brought it to the finish line together.”

The pair noted that fans can expect plenty more new material from The Belligerents once border openings allow them all to convene, with Stephenson revealing: “We finished a whole bunch [of songs] last year, and have been working on a couple more. Then there’s a demo folder with about 40 songs sitting in it that we haven’t gotten to yet.”