PREMIERE: Mwahaha Cool Down on “Autumn”

The Oakland trio share the second cut from their sophomore album eight years in the making.

The formidable audience accrued by the synth-wielding neo-psych collective Mwahaha at the beginning of the decade may have waited patiently for a follow-up to their 2012 self-titled debut—a swampy electronic soundscape featuring an on-brand tUnE-yArDs cameo—but the circumstances surrounding the announcement of Lovers is far from idyllic: The group’s new record was built around the recordings of guitarist Cyrus Tilton, who passed away in 2017.

Understandably, the first single from Lovers was darker than what we’ve come to expect from the surviving members—Ross Peacock on vocals and lead keys, James Murphy on drums, and Tilton’s brother Nathan on bass. This trend continues on second single “Autumn,” an icy, minimalist companion to the pulsating “Sundown.” Coming together with apparent ease, the emotional undercurrent of the track has little to hide behind.

“‘Autumn’ started with a drum machine beat and chord sequence from Nathan,” Peacock explains. “It had a short gestation period—we were in the studio together, and when his initial idea was complete I came up with the melody and lyrics pretty much the same evening. It was written during a period of personal upheaval and of trying to find a way back to my love.”

Lovers is out September 6.

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