The third music video off of Present Tense is as intriguing and original as its predecessors. Wild Beasts’ new single, “Palace,” is a romantically pleasant track, which is now accompanied by an unpredictable visual. Video artist Alex Turvey, who has worked with Angel Haze, Twin Shadow, and Bright Eyes, and who has collaborated with top fashion chains such as Topman, H&M, and Levi’s, directed the music video. The video isn’t your standard narrative music video, but more of a light-hearted experiment.
The experiment involves each band member being introduced to six random elements separately whilst playing and singing in a dark studio. A spotlight brings each visual element to life and the viewer is introduced at the same time as the band member. To allow a director to be almost entirely responsible for the content in the music video is very gutsy and unheard of for a band like Wild Beasts who are incredibly aware of their aesthetic. However, it certainly pays off and fans are given an intriguing and sincere video. Bassist Tom Fleming explains the concept behind the video: “What you see is us being introduced to the content for the first time and our genuine reactions to the objects and people involved. We wanted to make something that felt like an event and a sort of project, rather than what passes for a trad music video.”
Each visual is presented to the band members via spotlight. We see the content, and then we see the reactions. The first is two old TV sets that seem to be playing video footage of Wild Beasts themselves, which adds to the candid and honest aura. Then we see two elderly men in skimpy clothing wrestling, which, when slowed down and given the harsh lighting of the spotlight, borders on sensual and homoeroticism more than anything else. The reaction shots for this are rather priceless. The third visual is an older Asian man in a pinstriped suit mimicking the song karaoke-style back at the band; the standoff between him and lead singer Hayden Thorpe is just as golden as it sounds. Two out of the last three are obscure and unnerving, as one appears to be someone in a half-deflated puffy bag and the other as some thick blue shiny being akin to real-life Avatar. In between them, sits a black, leathery snake, terrifying keyboard player and backing vocalist, Ben Little. The later half, however, don’t get much attention or airtime, but are all visually captivating.
As the first two music videos off of Present Tense were unique digital visual effects, “Palace” is peculiar in its own way. With a fascinating idea and a few opulent shots, Wild Beasts and Alex Turvey deliver a cute and charming video.