Scene Not Herd: Music Videos

Scene Not Herd: Music Videos
Kris Demeanor kicks off this collection of music video shorts with I Have Seen the Future, a goofily animated lo-fi folk confessional detailing a tennis court confrontation between a father, son and a group of insult slinging teens. From there, the Constantines, literally embodying rock and roll, get their Hip on, working full-time as shifting piles of rocks animated into life for a dusty time-lapsed romp in a quarry. The weirdness factor gets a boost for the third clip, a ranting acid trip of a video creating a garden out of people in coloured shirts stacked in fidgeting piles for Phoenix the Devourer to wander amongst as he nervously muses on the condition of human innocence in his metaphor of life as an apple. Quasi take a turn back to the sensible with "Peace and Love.” This animated war satire sees opposing sides driven to a mad charge towards an ultimate confrontation with a suitably flower-powered resolution. Less engaging than earlier videos, Eros Ramozzotti’s plaintive Latin lover character croons his way through a fantastical journey over seas and mountains in this Tin-Tin-flavoured animation. Picking up the pace dramatically, in terms of musical and visual quality, is the video for "Dr. Blind” by Emily Hains and the Soft Skeleton. Statuesque in her beauty, Ms. Haines takes a walk through a sterile big box store, attracting a line of zombie-like shoppers who eventually freeze for her to play dominos with. Continuing the quality Canadian content is Apostle of Hustle’s "National Anthem of Nowhere,” a clip in which Andrew Whiteman embarks on an adventure to capture this mythical while singing its anthem during this his journey through black and white overlapped paper cut out style animation. I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness channels Trent Reznor to perfectly augment the hauntingly simple vision of helplessness that is "The Owl,” where an animated crow struggles against a string binding its foot while an ominous owl is perched, waiting. A different brand of helplessness is delivered via Thom Yorke’s visually stunning "Harrowdown Hill.” It’s a massive achievement in artistic video making. Time-lapse and stop motion photography is mixed with underwater cinematography and scale-skewed landscapes to paint an unsettling, yet beautiful, dystopian vision. To break from the serious tone, Kamikazee deliver generic sugary pop punk in their gaudily stylised marshal arts spoof of a young girl hunting for her supposedly kidnapped boyfriend. After watching "Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time,” I found myself wondering why my cab driver never bursts into grandiose Elvis Costello-inspired orchestral pop when I’m having a bad day. I guess because I’ve never been a fare for Jarvis Cocker, who can mow down pedestrians, trees, fences and even make the whole damn cab evaporate while he dances in the street without losing velocity, still getting you where you need to be on time and with a smile on your face. Swinging away from the cutesy and into an odd mash up of ’80s fashion, exaggerated grainy film quality and Evil Dead-style wolf beast puppet action is TV On The Radio’s "Wolf Like Me.” There’s a sliver of plot involving people secretly running around in the forest and becoming werewolves after rocking out to TV on the Radio but it’s mostly a jumbled mess. Speaking of weirdness, Lilly Allen’s "Alfie” gives us cheeky, screwed up sibling care the British way! Allen’s cautionary tale of overindulgence in marijuana sees her little brother scrunch faced and red-eyed in puppet form, tugging his own string, hitting the bong and being a generally creepy little sod while she coos her chipper electro pop. Sticking to the pop train is "She’s My Man.” Utilising an ’80s production aesthetic, the Scissor Sisters turn a dinner party into a floating martial arts battle. Continuing with the ’80s vibe, "Street Justice” is MSTERKRFT’s ultimate early ’80s electro dance party. A brightly and tightly clad crowd groove in frenzy while the band funks it up. Somehow, it’s all treated with enough serious affection to transform the kitsch factor into legitimate tribute. When casting rabbits in your music video, even digital ones, one must keep them under a careful watch. As Groove Armada’s "Get Down” demonstrates, rabbits will get busy at any opportunity, and the two frisky stars of this dub-driven dance funk clip get down to it in the washroom, producing an endless flood of bunny offspring that eventually overtake the entire production in a bouncing mass of ears and teeth.