Live Review: 'Vicious Love' is Exhibitionist's guide to dating in 2018 - and her most surprising track yet

11 December 2018 | 12:01 pm | Kyle Fensom

With 'Vicious Love', the first single since her debut EP, Exhibitionist offers her guide to dating in 2018 - it's also her most surprising track to date.

With each of the three singles that Sydney multi-instrumentalist KIRSTY TICKLES released under her EXHIBITIONIST moniker in the lead up to her debut EP, Let Go Of Love, earlier this year, she shone new lights on the corners of the project, marking her young but enormously promising career with versatility and constant artistic left turns. With that said, her latest offering, ‘Vicious Love’, is perhaps the most surprising - and startling - track she’s released yet.

Of the track, Exhibitionist explains that “‘Vicious Love’ is a peek into how I feel about navigating modern dating as a woman in her late 20’s. It’s about that nauseating feeling of changing your mind frequently, attempting to steer yourself towards good decisions and getting swept up in the complexity of human relationships. I wrote it with Dan and Jon from Sydney punk band ARSE, which gives the track an edge I previously hadn’t explored in Exhibitionist”.


Appropriately, ‘Vicious Love’ pulses with a more primordial energy than her previous releases like, say, the enchanting fogginess of ‘Sway’ or the heavenly synths of ‘Hands’. Instead ‘Vicious Love’ feels more cloistered, bordering on the edge of paranoia at times, its winding nature trading on taut tension throughout as Exhibitionist patiently dials up the clarity on some subdued handclaps which form the backbone of the track, bolstered by a driving beat and a chugging guitar line.

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“I’ve lost touch of my own body”, she sings before the track unravels in a tight three-and-a-half minutes, losing its sense of control as it loosely unfurls from the centre in much the same way as some of the tracks off the latest MITSKI record do. Welcome to dating in 2018.           

Photo by Amanda Merton