Laughing Man, “Brilliant Colors”

Amelia Pitcherella

Washington, D.C. foursome Laughing Man have proved daring in their musical style and content, combining a post-punk proclivity with some soul and old-school R&B while confronting racial anxieties head on. In 2010 they released their debut The Lovings (’63-’69), and after a long wait, they have a new full-length on its way later this month, Be Black Baby, which gets its name from a race-related sequence in Brian De Palma’s film Hi Mom!.

The video for “Brilliant Colors” off the upcoming album contradicts its title. It’s understated, a black and white documentary of a day in the life—waking up, rolling a cigarette, skateboarding, riding the train, mixed in with some more tender moments. Through quick shots and artful angles that match the pace of the song, we get a glimpse into the urban landscape of Laughing Man’s D.C. hometown. Singer Brandon Moses’ vocals on this track are loud and controlled as he shouts, “I’m hearing voices!” over big drums and agitated guitars. There’s a careening guitar solo, and there are also moments of more subtle musicality in the ringing guitar accents and soulful harmonies that occasionally crop up behind Moses’s voice. It’s an emotional track that’s both loud and introspective, and the video does a good job of matching the song’s sense for nuance.

Be Black Baby is out September 30 via Bad Friend Records.

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