Today’s Song: Guest Singer’s “Puppy” Explores Altruism Vs. Cynicism in a Soul-Stirring Synth-Soaked Upheaval

Guest Singer © Callum O'Keefe
Guest Singer © Callum O'Keefe
Doncaster’s Guest Singer open a dialogue between altruism vs. cynicism in their intoxicating song “Puppy,” a synth-soaked, emotionally charged eruption of raw energy and inner tension.
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Stream: “Puppy” – Guest Singer




Is it kindness or just politeness? I’ve always had a gift for saying things that make you feel like dying…

At the heart of Guest Singer’s “Puppy” is a profound question: Is goodness an innate trait, or a learned skill? Do we do the right thing because it’s naturally the right thing to do, or because we’ll get something in return? The cynic in me says one thing, whereas the altruist says another. Whatever your thoughts on the subject, this song is just the spark – the catalyst – to a greater, deeper dialogue around human nature. Guest Singer provoke us to delve straight into our core on their synth-soaked “Puppy,” a visceral, intimate, and soul-stirring alternative upheaval.

Divine Psychic Hotline EP - Guest Singer
Divine Psychic Hotline EP – Guest Singer
shame me like you’re sacred
fluorescent hatred,
separate our paradigms,
fuck them, true connection,
the kind who are only kind
in front of the crowd
in real life in cold light
are never much fun

Released in mid-March, “Puppy” was the final single taken off Guest Singer’s third EP Divine Psychic Hotline, released April 26, 2023 via MNRK Music. The Doncaster, UK-based duo of Jake Cope and France Lahmar (joined live by keyboardist Max Hodkingson (keys & sampler) and guitarist Paul Burdett), Guest Singer have been expounding great pontifications through song since early 2019. They self-describe their music as “dark party songs” – a mix of flash and fervor, all in one hit.

Guest Singer © Callum O'Keefe
Guest Singer © Callum O’Keefe



The band’s first two EPs I’m Irrelevant Now and Limbo Days offer a seamless blend of new wave, synth-pop, and ’80s dance pop –  all with a light dusting of post-punk irreverence. Their latest record brings that post-punk ethos even further out into the light as the band lean even further into the amorphous darkness that is our existential unrest – and while songs like “Divine Psychic Hotline” and “The Event” have their own ways of marrying the caustic with the cathartic, nothing hits with quite the same energy and raw, intense emotion as “Puppy.”

The track’s chorus is utterly irresistible – an impassioned, enthralling, emotionally charged eruption of inner tension and philosophical musing, channeled into dark, soaring waves of sound:

now that you have forgiven yourself,
you’re free, can you feel it? can you feel it?
now you have forgiven yourself
conveniently, can you feel it? can you feel it?

“This came from my reading of Humankind by Rutger Bergman,” vocalist Jake Cope tells Atwood Magazine. “In it he talks about the rise of the Homo Puppy and raises the idea that we have been bred to be inherently good. I guess the song questions whether that is the case, or whether we have learnt to use kindness to ensure there is something in it for us.”

Guest Singer © Callum O'Keefe
Guest Singer © Callum O’Keefe



The song’s second verse is about as blunt (and as unapologetic) as Guest Singer get on the subject: “Is it kindness, or just politeness?” Cope asks the wind. “I’ve always had a gift for saying things that make you feel like dying.”

Is it kindness or just politeness?
I’ve always had a gift for saying things
that make you feel like dying
the lavish will ravage,
so stay passive while you’re passing,
i hope that finally my clichés pay,
i’ll agree with anyone
now that you have forgiven yourself,
you’re free, can you feel it? can you feel it?
now you have forgiven yourself
conveniently, can you feel it? can you feel it?

On the subject of their new EP as a whole, Guest Singer explain that their objective this time around was to “try and cement the notion of the sad banger.”

“It’s always been a fun idea to be able to offer a bit of mystery to how we present ourselves,” Cope adds. “Expectations from the name, on how we sound, etc. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to make the intrigued work a little. When they realise what it is, then comes the surprise or the disappointment. Both is welcome. As is life really.”

We don’t have to be philosophy majors to fall in love with “Puppy.” Guest Singer make it easy for even the most novice ruminaters – those who seldom self-reflect, or are generally averse to such deep conversation – to delve into this philosophical swampland of goodwill and nature vs. nurture; to wonder if they, too, are just in it for themselves, or if there’s something inside pushing them to do right by others, beyond what any social construct or golden rule says.

When the food for thought is this tasty, you know you’re in for a treat. Guest Singer’s “Puppy” is a tight, tenacious four-minute indulgence, and an undeniably hit waiting in the wings for its time to strike.

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:: stream/purchase Puppy here ::
Stream: “Puppy” – Guest Singer



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Divine Psychic Hotline EP - Guest Singer

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