August 29, 2008
Greetings rockers! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, here with an incendiary and topical clip from an outspoken rock band with a vital message. Turn on the TV: the drug ads are inescapable. Often it feels like every other commercial message is a solicitation from a pharmaceutical company for a new medication. The advertisements are so omnipresent that they’ve turned into a cultural joke – satirists (including some who make rock videos) intentionally mimic their style. But the pugnacious Brandon Phillips of Architects isn’t finding it very funny. The kinetic frontman has had his own struggles with physical illness and the culture of medication, and his close encounters with the pharmaceutical industry have left him with something to say.
Or, to be more precise, something to holler. To their credit, Phillips and the Architects aren’t shy – in grand rock and roll tradition, they play things rough and loud. Their songs are abrasive, raw, edgy, deliciously distorted; they’re also catchy as hell. Vice, the Kansas City quartet’s latest set, has drawn well-deserved comparisons to The Replacements, The Clash, and Bad Religion – but in Phillips, they’ve found a writer and a frontman with a perspective and a storytelling voice all his own. On the band’s prior album, he tackled the topic ofRevenge; here, he’s giving his audience a guided tour through a 21st-century demimonde, filled to overflow with blood, intoxication, prostitution, brutality, and state-sanctioned drug addiction. Suburban “Mrs. Doyle” seduces the young friend of her daughter, the narrator of “Oklahoma” waits to avenge himself on the sheriff who raped his sister, the bail-jumping protagonist of “Continental” flees from the cops with a tankful of crystal meth. These characters are desperate, violent, stretched to the breaking point; thanks to the band’s energetic performances, they’re made tremendously vivid, compelling, charismatic, and all too real.
Critics have always loved The Architects, but Vice has earned the group its most ecstatic reviews yet: the All-Music Guidegave the album four-and-a-half stars, and praised the band’s “simmering mix of rock, punk, and post-punk”. “Pills”, the lead single from the set, is perhaps the best example of what makes the Architects so powerful. It’s raucous and fiery, but it’s also graced with an instantly-memorable melody and surprisingly-surefooted three-part vocal harmonies. And then there’s the lyric – three minutes of fighting words aimed at the drug peddlers and pharmaceutical companies. “It’s all placebo”, shouts Phillips, his disgust made palpable.
“I am supposed to be made to feel like a patient”, Phillips says about his time in clinics and doctor’s offices, “but instead I feel like a target market for whichever pharmacological contrivance is being pushed this week.” Never one to shy away from a bold, symbolic gesture, the Architects frontman has found the perfect setting for his “Pills” video: the old headquarters of the Karl Menninger Clinic in Topeka. This deserted psychiatric facility looks and feels oppressive and creepy – a temple of forgotten medicine. The band plays in its spooky halls and in its fenced courtyard, but the most gripping shots in the clip extend the narrative of the song. A young boy in a doctor’s office plays with a mountain of medication; a young woman drowns in a bathtub of pills; a nurse tosses capsules down an old man’s throat. The culture of medication affects us all, the band seems to argue: no one is immune to its seductive allure. In the video’s most affecting sequence, a girl dresses up as if she’s going to a fashion show – but dances instead alone against the cold walls of the clinic.
We are stoked to be back in the saddle, working with Brandon Phillips and Anodyne Records on the new Architects “Pills” video. We’ve been saddled up with plenty of copies of Vice for all your on-air giveaway needs, so feel free to reach out to us to secure copies for any contests you’d like to set up! You can also check out The Architects on tour through the middle of September, so let us know if you want to setup interviews or video IDs when the band comes through your market. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at info@HIPVideoPromo.com.
For info about Architects’ previous video, “Don’t Call It A Ghetto” click HERE