Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Avalanches - "Frontier Psychiatrist"

Almost all music videos, since the dawn of time, have made at least some attempt to show the the actual musical artist featured in the video pretending to be performing the actual song that is being promoted by said video. Often these "performances" don't even follow the rules of logic. Where's Britney's microphone? If she's doing all that dancing, how come she doesn't sound out of breath?

But what if, in the case of the Avalanches, there's just one problem: there is no performer? What if your song is just a bunch of kitschy '50s soundbites strung together?

Never fear. The video for "Frontier Psychiatrist" is an endearingly literal interpretation of what is actually present on the recording. For every absurd sample, there is the corresponding image of a psychiatrist/ape/horse/parrot/Peruvian folk ensemble "performing" what is heard. The video reminds me of those creative writing or acting workshop exercises where people are given a random set of words and are supposed to slap together something cogent out of that randomness. The Avalanches probably created this song in their basement with no intention of ever passing it off as something that anybody would, or even could, perform live. But when it came time to make a video, I guess they figured, "Hey, what if there was an actual band that had to perform this song? What would it look like?" Ladies and gentlemen: it would look like this. You can even see the microphones!

The Beatles quit touring because they didn't think they would have been able to play Sgt. Pepper in concert. The Avalanches would have at least tried to put together a video. Imagine their take on "Good Morning, Good Morning." Given their experience with barnyard animals, I think they would have been able to come up with something appropriate.

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