Live Review: Habits

Sebastian Chesney

On Saturday night I was fortunate enough to experience Melbourne electro-goth duo ‘Habits’ for a second time. Recalling their powerful performance at Paradise Music Festival last year, I arrived with high expectations. The group would prove not to disappoint. Having released a number of singles over the last two years and with their loyal fan base growing exponentially, their debut EP Ugly Cry was well primed for release.

The night kicked off with Melbourne ‘spooky breathtronica’ act Geryon. I wasn’t early enough to catch all of the set, but I really enjoyed the last couple of songs. Their music has a dreamy, whispery vibe, propelled by light synth drums and manipulated vocals.

I took a drink break and came back to watch a little of Lucy Cliche’s analogue synth driven set. Largely instrumental, slightly industrial and highly enjoyable, she primed the crowd up well for the headline act.

By the time Habits took to the stage, the room at the Northcote Social Club was almost completely packed out. People were pushing and shoving for a spot up the front. The curtain lifted and the immediately recognisable Habits began their hour-long set. The group’s two members, Mohini and Matt were visually captivating with their orange bleached hair and stark makeup. Their opening track ‘Veins’ started the show well with a pulsating and bombastic rhythm.

The set came to a natural peak with crowd favourite ‘Ether’, a single released last year. The opening ‘oh’ motif of Matt’s voice as bizarre as it sounded, stuck with me in a memorable way and reminded me heavily of wacky 90’s kids show ‘Soup Opera’. Mo’s soft overlaying vocals contrasted sharply with Matt’s vocal tones and gave the song a dynamic and layered contrast.

Habits’ heavy use of vocal effects, by pitching their voices up and down helps to embellish sections of their songs. My ears were convinced that there were more vocalists  than the two that stood in front of me.

Just when I thought I had the duo figured out, Habits threw in a cover of Britney Spears’ Till The World Ends before closing their set with the heavy hitting track ‘Reverend Mother’. Opening the song with a grating sawtooth synth and a brutal almost-ravey beat I was thrown into a curtail spin of awe and mosh. Habits’ own description of their music as ‘sad goth party jams’ seemed very fitting at this point.

With Mo’s ghostly dark harmonies and Matt screaming into an effect-heavy vocoder, it seemed like a suitable end to a very memorable show. There is an undeniable chemistry between the creative forces of Matt and Mohini. Their raw energy is simply an addictive presence. Let’s hope they are around for a long time to come. 

The Collective