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Skateland finds no fun, fun, fun on the “Autobahn!”

18 January 2024, 10:00 | Written by Steve Forstneger

The indie-pop project of Austin’s Dorian Williams II delivers an astonishing single in "Autobahn!" that packs a relationship into the car.

Among the similarities between love and the German highway system is neither allows you to run out of gas. Either the motorway authority will hit you with a heavy fine or your ex will call you a bad person while using words inappropriate for a family music page. Endurance is a prerequisite.

When Skateland opens his latest track, the battery is on but the engine isn’t running. The RPMs have gone quiet, replaced by nervous brainwaves as Williams’ mind races like a rhythmic synth note. He’s considering seeing other people.

"The narrator begins the song with what he presumes is a breakup speech”, he explains, “but somehow along the way concedes that for better or worse he will always love this person, and that the tough parts of loving someone are what make it worth it in the end".

Previous Skateland singles like “POSTCARDS!” and last year’s New Wave Revival EP revealed a mixture of Steve Lacy and post-millennium shoegaze, but “Autobahn!” swaps shyness for drama. The narrator’s impending breakup is no longer a certainty. Maybe there’s something left in the tank? After some petal-picking chants of “I like you! I hate you! I love you!”, the song downshifts and glides. Taking his hands off the wheel, Williams coasts to a stop that finds him perpendicular to the road.

The violinist trills as if building the tension in a room while a magician contemplates tugging the tablecloth from out beneath the china. Birds chirp. Then, as if Mykki Blanco has usurped the orchestra, love dawns and we break into the soliloquy portion of a showtune. The outro resumes with an ascending, indie-pop release. Williams says, “Fear of failure or a perceived lack of ‘the right resources’ are the biggest reason why people hesitate to try something. Instead of dreading those butterflies in your stomach, embrace them and use them to lift you up”.

Also make sure there’s enough in your tank before you zip off down the road.

"Autobahn!" is out now. Find Skateland on Instagram.

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