Northeast Party House recently released their video for single Empires –the second track off their self-titled debut EP which was released last December. The Melbourne-based band is an EMI partner, signed with label Stop and Start and winner of 2011 triple j unearthed. They recently wowed audiences at Falls Festival with their energetic live performances and infectiously catchy tunes. It’s sort of like Talking Heads meets Gorillaz –with a little bit of cliché 80’s electro.
Director Dylan Wiehan has gone for a fragmented effect in the music video; there’s no narrative or controversial symbolism as such, but more an entrancing encapsulation of the band’s dreamy synth for screen. It depicts the band playing ‘Empires’ through soft focus, where they recorded in the busy Australian woodlands. It can look unimaginative, filming a band in their rehearsal space, but I was taken by it. In fact, with the video on mute, it’s almost like you could be watching another music video for an Australian indie rock band.
The camera movement is still but deliberate, and each band member gets a focus point. However, vocalist Zach Hamilton-Reeves has the most engaging expressions, and the others seem absentminded and difficult to connect with. Wiehan has primarily revolved the video on the instruments, after each still we return via selective focus to the sci-fi keyboards, deep bass and upbeat drumming.
There are no disguises; with the natural light emerging from the windows of their forest cabin, the band appears as they are, dressed in casual weekend clothes, with a personal twist. It’s like a group of teenagers jamming, but with grown-up sensitivity. And when Hamilton Reeves’ is singing the hook “we never fought, we never tried”, you can see the articulation of regret on his face. The subtle moody atmosphere continues throughout the clip, and can seem subversive for a song that’s quite low-key in its dynamics and at first a cheerful dance track.
Northeast Party House is touring Australia this month, along with Nantes and millions, for the Triple Treat Tour.
Published on Purple Sneakers.