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Videowatch: April 2012

29/04/2012

This month we’re taking a trip around the world and enjoy a multitude of languages.

KENT – 999

Swedish longrunners Kent released their new album Jag är inte rädd för mörkret yesterday and I might be right now holding it in my impatient paws if my preorder hadn’t been slapped on the face by stock allocation problems. In the meantime, I’ll just give “999” a few more listens. If you play the dangerous game of analysing an album based entirely on its lead single, “999” would cause one to think that the excursion to the world of synthesizers and electronic spicing has ended and Kent have decided to return to their more traditional rock sound. As a huge fan of that electronic period it’s slightly sad but as a huge fan of their traditional rock sound it’s also pretty great. And “999” certainly sounds very good, with the potential to become even better once I hear it in its context (hi I’m an album nerd) or when the weather changes to something more upbeat to reflect the song’s sunny, celebratory anthemic stylings. It’s not a song that invents new wheels or brings anything new to the table, and it’s probably not even one of the album’s best songs, but it’s a pretty excellent stylistic comeback song. And hey, it’s managed to make my significant other interested in the album despite never having heard Kent before.

This video was technically posted last month but the “(liveversion)” tag made me expect a “(proper music video version)” to appear sooner or later and I figured I might as well wait another month to see if it happens. Perhaps later then. It would be a shame if we didn’t get another video for this as Kent’s videos have been pretty excellent for years now and often brilliant representations of the song’s sound. Although I suppose you could say that this video is perfectly apt for the song: the band’s back to a more organic sound, might as well skip all the pretense and fancy visuals and simply show the band doing what they do for once. It works, even if it’s nothing really to remember.

PARIISIN KEVÄT – KESÄYÖ

Same setting, same actor, same otherwordly feeling. Either the new PK video is a sequel to the first one off this campaign or then they simply decided to cut on budget costs as they figured out they could kill two birds with one stone when simply using the same crew and setting again while they were at it. Might as well – it works. Enjoyable, interesting enough. Admittedly I’ve not come back to Youtube to watch this over and over again but if I were as reliant on watching TV to see music videos as I was pre-internet, I imagine I could have tolerated seeing this once an hour.

Considering the song is called “Summer Night”, a spring release seems a bit hasty for it but it’s a pretty obvious and good single choice. The song falls in line with the previous Pariisin kevät hits, the chorus is a major earworm and overall it’s a success for all parties, both the band for doing a good job with the song and the executives for turning it into a single release.

PERFUME – SPRING OF LIFE

Oh isn’t this a bit awkward. It was only last month when I praised the hell out of this J-Pop girl group, trying to paint them in sort of super special, super unique light, and here they are with their new single that isn’t actually anywhere near as impressive as most of their material. Sure, Nakata’s production is as delightfully batshit as ever (the way those high-pitch synth sounds bounce around, especially in the bridge, is just bewilderingly good) but the melodies and hooks are nowhere near as strong as in the previous Perfume singles. “Spring of Life” sounds somewhat more like some late-album fodder track rather than a lead single (of an album that’ll probably come out sometime next year, considering Japan’s pop industry is all about chucking tons singles before the albums are out). It’s pleasant enough but, well, not that exciting. Even the choreography in the video isn’t up to their usual standards! Although that said, you can get a whole lot of kick about the video if you start analysing it and imagining how all the open embrace of technological wonder productions, synthesized voices and near-robotically perfect dance routines in the group’s music are in fact because they were robots to begin with. Which is just the sort of thing you start thinking of when the music doesn’t really hold your attention.

PMMP – HELIUMPALLO

This year became instantly better musically when the announcement of PMMP’s new album arrived. The power trio Vesala/Luoti/Sjöroos is responsible for one of the best acts in Finland today both lyrically and musically and oh my oh my, getting some new material is fantastic news. Especially when the news were released together with a preview as great as “Heliumpallo”. It’s a slow-burner and takes a few listens to really open up but the mood is an instant hooking point: those lead-heavy, hopeless verses driven by a cold piano and an almost funeral march like rhythm are incredibly captivating and a huge attention-catcher. And when the chorus breaks open it feels like a ray of light cracking through the dark clouds, only the pressure and heaviness never disappear. It’s always there, lingering. And oh god it’s so good.

Shit video, mind you. It’s one of those things where you feel like you’re supposed to analyse it for its deep, hidden meanings; a video that’s all about ART and DEPTH. Only it’s just a bit bollocks and more pretentious and nonsensical than artsy. I’ll just have the song cheers.

THE SHINS – THE RIFLE’S SPIRAL

The best song on the new Shins album gets an actually pretty excellent stop-motion animation video. Both the design and animation are excellent and the plot is suitably fascinating in its disappearing rabbits, creepy gentlemen and magic battles. Does it even attempt to match the song in mood or theme? No, the actual riflespiralness of the video is so low that this could have accompanied any song, some even probably to a better degree, but it’s not particularly to the video’s detriment either. The song itself, of course, is still damn brilliant and one of the best to come out in this year so far. The rest of the album might have been a slight disappointment, but when it comes time to do my hypothetical “best of year” mixtape The Rifle’s Spiral will have a well-deserved spot there.

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