Gearing up for their major breakthrough in Australia’s ever-burgeoning indie scene, this is our bold and bewitching introduction to the world of Naarm/Melbourne-based indie-rocker Leo McCloskey (who performs mononymously as Leo). The 22-year-old, who uses they/them and she/her pronouns recorded ‘Half Unconscious’ with producer Jonathon Tooke (best known as one half of Cry Club, but also for his work with artists like Bec Taken by Claire Guiffre Stevens, Rachel Maria Cox and Birdsville) and session drummer Nick Robinson at The Black Lodge Studios in Brunswick.
‘Half Unconscious’ is a slow-burning emo gem that creeps to the edge of the unknown, takes a deep breath and dives straight ahead. With palpable hurt in their voice, saccharine and soft but grippingly incendiary, they sing on the song’s gut-wrenching chorus: “Because of you, the graveyard is singing / And because of you, you cause desolation / And because of you, I can’t help but wonder / What might have been / Because of you…”
Touching on the song’s genesis, Leo says: “I initially wrote ‘Half Unconscious’ in 2015, back when I was really straight… I know, right? I had so many issues. But there was this person I really liked, and we were hanging out or whatever – it wasn’t extensive at all, but I was in a very emotional place, so I wrote this song being like, ‘I’m a bit of a shit and I understand why you don’t like me, but oh my God, you’re still amazing!’ But in 2021, I went back to the song and I looked at the second verse, and it was very… Preachy. It was like, ‘You could never do anything wrong,’ but in reality, this person was harmful in quite a few of their actions.
“So I rewrote the second verse to kind of re-claim my sense of self. I’d been gaslit and manipulated, without real-ising it, for like six years – and then I realised, ‘I can’t move forward with this song if it’s going to be this preachy, man-loving thing.’ So I changed it and we recorded it, and Jono came up with the ending part where it gets yellier and yellier, which was really cool. I think it’s just about reclaiming my own sense of self, while also recognising the negative in that situation.”