It’s been a year since Cardiknox, the pop duo comprising Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton, released their debut album Portrait. They’ve been on tour with Carly Rae Jepsen and with Phoebe Ryan throughout the spring and summer into the fall, until about five months ago, when Angle and Dutton returned to the studio.
The first track to surface from those sessions is “F— With You,” which premieres exclusively on W. It’s a frothy romp, a buoyant, club-ready track that bears a striking resemblance to early Charli XCX jams.
Angle and Dutton, both 30, conceived and wrote “F— With You” in a single day. On its surface, “F— With You” is a brash love song. “They say I’m insane for feeling this way, but I’m not afraid ’cause your love gets me highest,” Dutton sings. Angle chimes in, echoing him: “They say I’ll get hurt, that I’m not the first, this won’t ever work, but I’ve never been more sure ’cause your love gets me highest.”
The duo explained over the phone from Los Angeles that the song is not just about love, but it’s also their romantic little missive to music, with the thrill of a new relationship as metaphor.
“With social media,” Angle explained, “there’s so much noise. We’re constantly inundated with other people’s opinions.” Their new track is an anthem to tuning “all that nonsense out,” whether it’s romantically or professionally—which “maybe is a less sexy answer,” she added, laughing.
“F— With You” also finds the duo sharing vocal duties—a marked departure from Portrait but one, as Angle and Dutton tell it, that is actually a return to their original vision for Cardiknox. Before their collaboration coalesced into Cardiknox, Dutton had been the lead singer of Forgive Durden, and Angle, who was trained in theater, was helping him adapt the band’s operatic concept album Razia’s Shadow for stage. But they started writing pop songs, and Cardiknox emerged.
“When we first started the band a few years ago, it was meant to be a duo,” Dutton explained. “It feels really good to be owning what our initial mindset was anyways.” Still, they continue to try to channel the same cinematic, narrative energy of theater into their music, even now.
So what does “F— With You” look like?
“Ripped, tearing, peeling wallpaper off of old walls and neon lights,” Angle said.
“Dark, and neon, and young people in love,” Dutton added.
“There’s drugs in there,” Angle concluded. “But I’m not sure what kind of drugs we’re talking.”
Bella Hadid, a bubble bath, and jenga—what more could you want?