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Videowatch of Love: May 2013

29/05/2013

sonicxtv

It’s a regular parade of love in Videowatch this month.

EDITORS – A TON OF LOVE

Well, not quite what I was hoping or expecting. Editors have always been a band who wear their influences right on top of their faces. They’ve hardly been the most original musicians across their past albums but that’s not mattered because the songs have been good and Tom Smith’s got a good amount of charisma to his deep baritone. The third album, the sudden electronic twist “In This Light and on This Evening”, however showed for the first time a band that were beginning to build into a sound of their own. Sure, rock bands going synthy is hardly revolutionary anymore but they didn’t sound like hardcore fanboys of bands X, Y and Z anymore. It felt like Editors were about to blossom into their own. A handful of years and some lineup changes later, Editors have gone right back to sounding like their influences again, only that the post-punk and stadium rock of yore has changed into an 80s indie rock sound.  It sounds fine but it’s also a slightly disappointing regression. That said, the album could contain plenty of love and the problem is just that “A Ton of Love” isn’t the most memorable or impressive part of the Editors catalogue. It’s much like its video: there is a certain style to it but we’ve seen it so many times before that we’d need something special to make it bounce out, which it never delivers.

THE NATIONAL – SEA OF LOVE

The new National album will get its own article sometime in the next month once things calm down a bit and I can start focusing on this blog a little more again (excuses: moving homes, a new job and going to a convention all within the space of one month) but as a small spoiler, I’ve been obsessed about it. “Sea of Love” is one of my favourites: a storm in the sea of calm, a fire-bellied rocker with all the pathos, quiet fury and resigned melancholy you’d hope from The National. It gets particularly delicious by the end as the backing vocals hit, and they are some mighty fine backing vocals indeed. Going into the song too much would take some wind away from the full album ramble’s wings, but in a nutshell – it’s stuff like this why I’m such a pathetic fanboy of this band.

The video, a tribute to an obscure Russian rock video, is simple but does its job really well – if only because of how animated the band are and what joy it is to watch them. I could do without the little kid (it’s a fun idea at first but the novelty wears off by the end) but I’m not particularly bothered by him either.

PERFUME – MAGIC OF LOVE

Perfume’s string of singles after their last album JPN has been a regular mixed bag, in more ways than one. “Spring of Life” was so Perfume-y that it sounded like a group and its producer stuck in a rut; “Spending All My Time” was a bizarre and baffling but brilliant take on the Western dance music trend that managed to usurp its inspiration; “Mirai no Museum” was a theme song for a children’s movie and sounded like it. “Magic of Love” sounds at first like a return to JPN’s soundworld again, a safe return to the familiar port after a few songs of switching styles. Then the vocals really hit and, well, for a few short glimpses they’re not processed. The girls in Perfume are good singers but you’d rarely really know it, given how insanely processed their vocals are and how much it is their signature sound. JPN already had a brief moment where the robotron was dropped from their vocals, I assume because the girls wanted to prove doubters wrong, and now that’s made it into an actual single. It may not sound much but it’s a pretty major shift in gear for Perfume who have made robotic perfection their forté. It’s also the only memorable thing about the otherwise incredibly run-of-the-mill single. I love Perfume, I do (the Triangle album continues to be fantastic) but they seem to have lost their wild edge and desire to play with the rules of the pop genre lately and instead keep on churning cute pop with above average production. It’s hard to say whether it’s because producer Nakata’s priorities have changed (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seems to get the most outlandish ideas these days) or because the girls in Perfume have started to gain a greater power over their direction, but the recent batch of songs have left me rather cold; “Spending All My Time” has been the only really great one, and that might just be because it was breaking borders again.

The video is typically good for Perfume. They’ve always been great with videos and while this doesn’t rank near the top, it’s still fun to watch. Just a shame that the song doesn’t really inspire to give it more than one or two views.

(because Japan continues to not understand the concept of promotion, only a short version of the video exists on Youtube)

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