RAINBOW QUARTZ RECORDS
Kalle Kristian Meidel
July 10, 2005
Summertime greetings to my esteemed video colleagues! It’s Andy Gesner and the ultra cool staff from HIP Video Promo. It’s been our great privilege to work with Rainbow Quartz records to expose their roster of talented artists to a wider audience. Rainbow Quartz acts invariably share a love for songcraft and an intelligent, broadly-applied knowledge of rock history, and no band in the stable epitomizes those virtues better than The Lovethugs. Like The Shins (a group they often resemble), this Norwegian pop band has developed a sound that is firmly rooted in psych-rock traditionalism, but is nonetheless thoroughly modern in its sensibility.
And as tunesmiths, The Lovethugs have few peers. Frontman and guitarist Jim Faulty has already distinguished himself as a craftsman of infectious melodies: 2003’s Playground Instructors was heralded for its McCartneyesque songwriting. The album established the quartet as legitimate underground stars in Oslo, and gained the group an international reputation among aficionados of neo-psychedelia. Babylon Fading tightens up the sound considerably and raises the stakes: not only has the sophistication of the songcraft improved, but Faulty has begun adding notes of discontent and melancholia to his pop confections. To complement the deepening tone, The Lovethugs have gotten edgier – they’re now as apt to add a rough, garage-influenced guitar part as they are to bathe the listener in washes of reverb and acid-washed feedback.
Still, the sonic core of this project is the treated organ and guitar and Faulty’s gently questioning voice. On “Babylon Fading”, Faulty cautiously laces his melody through swirling six-string patterns and distant single-note piano: he sounds like a little boy lost, at once sympathetic and slightly unhinged. The band plays with tremendous sensitivity and control – molding the song to fit Faulty’s story, subtly emphasizing key words, laying back when necessary, painting a portrait of a paradise gone quietly wrong.
Kalle Kristian Meidel’s fascinating and disquieting clip for “Babylon Fading” amplifies the song’s sense of incipient danger and destabilization. It’s trippy, but never obviously so – instead, Meidel plays games with the film speed, slowing down the footage ever so slighty until the shots of Faulty’s mouth moving fails to correspond to the words he’s singing. Elsewhere, the director digitally removes frames from his footage, rendering motion as vaguely (but noticeably) awkward and abrupt. Meidel plays a similar trick with the band’s hands, switching between real-time representations of The Lovethugs slamming away at their instruments and others where the group appears to be playing too slowly. By the end of the video, you may find it impossible to tell whether you’re looking at the band playing “Babylon Fading”, a slowed-down or sped-up version of “Babylon Fading”, or something entirely different.
Time and space aren’t the only variables that Meidel and the Lovethugs treat like silly putty here. The video also paints a grim portrait of sexual temptation, showing images of scantily-dressed women performing undefined – but always unsettling – acts. One leers at the camera in lurid slo-mo as she stalks the sidewalks outside a club; another sharpens knives lustily as she stands over a man lying prone (and perhaps unconscious?) in a bathtub. In another shot, two glamorous women toss their manes in choppy slow-motion. What would ordinarily read as a moment of rock and roll ecstasy becomes, instead, something menacing and near-tribal in its ambiguity.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with Rainbow Quartz and The Lovethugs to bring you this unique and compelling video. We’ve got an ample supply of The Lovethugs Babylon Fading CDs on hand for any on-air giveaways. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at (732) 613-1779, or email [email protected] You can also visit www.RainbowQuartz.com, or www.TheLovethugs.com to find out more about The Lovethugs.
|Visit The Lovethugs|
For info on The Lovethugs’ previous video “A Little Bit Of Something” click HERE