Words by Darren Williams
As I listen to Luka’s second single, Past The Point Of No Return, the whole country is tentatively exiting a second enforced lockdown and entering a period of uncertain optimism, navigating our various tiers before a brief festive amnesty and a vague promise of normality.
Countless people are facing an uncertain future. The unemployment figures rise and rise.
Some people are joyously planning their Christmas get togethers, some are wary of being too complacent and are remaining in isolation.
At the same time, thousands of young students are weighing up the benefits of returning to their homes. Should they leave the confines of enforced solitude? Will they be putting family and friends at risk?
Unprecedented times, we’re told.
It’s so easy to feel completely overwhelmed.
Bright Christmas lights blink onto cold, wet, empty streets strewn with discarded face masks.
Yet, there is hope. There has to be. We cautiously begin to feel that things will return to some form of normality, albeit one where almost everything we have become accustomed to to has changed forever.
It’s against this backdrop that Past The Point Of No Return by Luka is set. There’s a hesitant feel to the tone, a quiet quality that belies a hidden strength and determination, a need to express but not be too expressive. A whisper that becomes a determined mantra.
It’s a beautiful hymn to one of the strangest periods of all of our lifetimes.
Luka describes Past The Point Of No Return as a song about mental health struggles, exploring encounters with anxiety and depression - “fighting against your brain, basically” - and yet it feels so specifically tailored to all of our “unprecedented times”.
We have all experienced some form of listlessness, weariness, impotence, silent fury, addled resignation, emotional unrest, internal arguments and general confusion. Yet we are determined not to be beaten down. It is because of this that we can listen to Point Of No Return with far more understanding than we could have done a year ago.
It’s a fabulous record, slightly unsettling but at the same time reassuring. There’s an undercurrent of menace in the subtle synths but a hidden steeliness in the softly spoken vocals.
This is a song for strange times, a reminder that we ARE all in this together. Sometimes your head is not your best friend, but you’re through the worst of it, better times are on the horizon, and Luka is walking out of the darkness, feeling the sunshine on her face.