Scaling through the lattice walls of hanging ivy, Western Lows debut the low lit lantern warmth video for cold trails with, "Grapevine". Having graced us with their recent single "Icicles" , London by LA frontman Jack Burnside continues the noise dream theater growth from Mezzanine Owls to the personal places and understated touches of the Lows-indicative of Andy LeMaster's cinematic and sonic textures overseen during the construction of the Glacial album for JAXART. A full-length recorded in Athens, Georgia, Burnside's "Grapevine" takes the listener and viewer across a sweeping personal saga and internal struggle that spans beyond the iconic twists and winding road curvatures that make up the unincorporated community of California's Kern County, otherwise known as the Grapevine. Take the Tejon Pass through the Tehachapi Mountains with Burnside's gateway to the personal songwriting spaces and sacred interiors from the heart of Southern California.
Jack's song of lowland comforts of hushed and subtle ceremony are brought out from Miles Brandman's direction and Sean Ware's intimate portrait shot compositions. The film captures all the collective furniture, wood paneling, and reflective performances that Western Lows have gathered together in one room. Ware's camera lens draws from the space's dark corners, letting the light guitar strums shine over component console knobs, to up close angle of drum kits and guitar edges that illustrate the familiar instrumental song make-up in new lights.
Burnside's night fall poetics are joined with the appearances and reinforced support of bandmates Julien Bellin and Michael Orendy that bring a concentrated solemnity to the song's visual presentation. "Unring the bell please, I fear the paint drying wrong, we're too far gone, I'm dying nightly inside recurring dreams that aren't my own". Together they deliver the crackling dawn that rises above Los Angeles, with the complicated stifling metaphor of strangulation strung by the western highs of high tide and the low points of internal reckoning. "The grapevine is tied around my throat, this high tide, a trail gone cold". Somewhere in this singer-songwriter journal of post-purgatory lies the chances of infinite possibility or perdition from the towering vineyard stalks and one of the most beautiful and defining ballads from Western Lows.
Jack Burnside shared some words with us about visually climbing those spaces of sonic dissonance with "Grapevine", along with some of the desolate and lush dichotomies at work on their full-length, Glacial.
How was translating "Grapevine" visually to this intimate, cabin style, analogue setting?
We explored a variety of narrative-driven concepts for the Grapevine video, but nothing ever felt quite right. Miles Brandman, who directed the video, came up with the idea of starting out with tight, almost surreal macro shots of the band playing from a variety of angles and gradually backing out and letting things visually unfold piece by piece. The video ended up having a stark and haunted vibe that feels very much in keeping with the song to me.
If you could describe your recent full-length Glacial in a manifesto thesis, what would it be?
I have a hard time wrapping the album up into a thesis. Plans and blueprints work great for some people, but I tend to work best when I get out of my own way and let my subconscious figure out where it wants to go. That said, I do think that the album feels cohesive, like a record as opposed to 10 songs on a disc. Parts of the album are fairly stark and desolate, and parts are more lush and maybe more hopeful. There's a push and pull between those two elements that goes on throughout the record and even inside the individual songs, I think it's that dichotomy that drives the whole thing.
The Western Lows album debut Glacial is available now from JAXART Records.