So Stressed, “Merv King & The Phantoms”

Post Author: JP Basileo

Bad horror movies give testament to the simple, universal, and often crippling force of the element of surprise. But what about when the impending doom is self-evident the entire time? Sacramento punks So Stressed, inaugural signees of Meredith Graves’ label, Honor Press, have produced a charmingly gut-wrenching video for their first single, “Merv King & The Phantoms”, in which a totally unassuming young man is placed shirtless in front of a fence and has balloons filled with various liquids hurled at his face. We can only go by his expression to tell if and when a projectile is coming, but knowing that it’s coming ups the anxiety all the more, alleviated only slightly by his disarming laughter in between throws.

It’s all fun and games at first, until the dude gets a real deal nosebleed. Then, accompanied by the violence of the song, it becomes an uncomfortable watch. The camera is relentless—it only strays from its stationary position in front of the fence once at around the 0:13 mark, to look up at a pretty glorious orange tree. The video ends with this guy, puffy-eyed, red-faced, sniffling, but still smiling, to the audio equivalent of the dark sludge in that one balloon that misses his head. It’s either a very funny, or very twisted interpretation.

Debut album The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art is out May 26 on Honor Press.