With the critically acclaimed Rhode Island noise rock duo, Lightning Bolt, having just released their first album in over five years last month, the band have now released a music video for the track “The Metal East.” Directed by artist Lale Westvind, the video is a fully animated pastiche that coincides with the group’s penchant for bizarre viscera, and pretty, pretty colors.
Set in a sci-fi-esque post-apocalyptic dreamscape that features transforming monsters, exploding rainbows, and space fighter-jets, the video brings to mind the Adult Swim series Superjail (albeit with less gratuitous gore). Even if that aforementioned cartoon didn’t exist, “The Metal East’s” video would still ring as nostalgic, because the creature designs and landscapes look like they’ve come out of a 10 year old’s school notebook. Despite the fact that the animation is likely done on a computer, Lale Westvind’s drawings recall adolescent doodles, albeit of a much higher quality than their scrap-book progenitors.
Of course, as colorful and spontaneous the visuals in the video are, the music is what really brings it to life. Characteristically of the band, it’s nearly impossible to understand what drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale is trying to say, amidst the pummeling music and muffled screams that somehow classify as “singing.” Of course, this is hardly a complaint as this adds to the beautiful chaos that the band has always strived for. In their nearly two decades in existence, Chippendale is still arguably indie music’s most singularly talented drummer, and bassist Brian Gibson still has that unique talent of making his four chorded instrument sound like so much more.
While on one hand, the song “The Metal East” is typical Lightning Bolt, their long-term fans should notice the best qualities mark a departure from the band’s oeuvre. Much attention has been given to the fact that the duo’s latest album, Fantasy Empire, is their first record to be properly recorded in a studio. While they’ve all but retained their unequivocal sense for making loud, weird, minimalist music sound huge and beautiful, Fantasy Empire adds a few tweaks and striations to give the music an added punch. This particular song is a telling example about how their frenetic music style can have huge leaps in their artistry with just a little bit of added polish. Also, it’s totally rad to be animated these days, too!