The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Austin Collings , May 6th, 2015 17:35

Austin Collings talks us through the process of directing the video for BLACKLUNG's new, coalition-slaying slice of Kraut-disco, Black Bones

The coalition and co. - the billboard bunch - they cast anxious shadows, leering down on us above Aldi, above TK Maxx, closed pubs and open restaurants. Invading our peripherals, distorting our full view, big enough to have their own postcodes, they hover like Goya's grotesques, like HD updates of his etching title, The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters: ferrety Farage, Miliband's demented gaze eye-level to my own eyes on the 92 bus into town, Osborne and Cameron, two stuffed animals stapled into urban skylines. And Clegg.

Like figures in myth I decided to drop the duo BLACKLUNG - lead singer Dan Broomhall and guitarist James Moffatt - into this colourful hell armed with a samurai sword, a borrowed Fender Jaguar and words of mysterious advice from a chain-smoking femme fatale. It's their debut after all. Baptism of fire and all that.

The song - the Poe-like titled 'Black Bones' - is a hypnotic hybrid of Krautrock and disco (Kraut-disco). The first time I listened to it, traipsing the sad ruins of my old hometown of Radcliffe, north Manchester, it seemed to cut through the immense confusion: the tension of England in the anxious shadows.

Back to the old (council) house, with Dan's Stoke-born croon - an epic echo of Ian McCulloch and Scott Walker - and James' dice-toss of a guitar sound flooding my skull, it'd make neat narrative sense to say that things had changed in Radcliffe, that it was once a decent place that has since been destroyed by The Coalition, but this isn't the case. It's always been a cesspit in my eyes. A violent hole.

The video - or short film as I see it - would be a reflection of all of this: less a postcard from the edge (lands), more an old distorted TV that has been left on too long and the colours have gone madly bright: England, cracking up (again).

With the precious gift of an appropriate fury The Coalition and co. are slayed by Dan in the hillside cemetery amongst the moss and mould of abandonment: temporary/comedic catharsis for those of us who are sick of the sight of them. If we are but flares of nature then 'Black Bones' is the tyre fire in the woods. A new light source.

The raw footage was then edited in Levenshulme where we'd stop for a brew and look through the window at poor Polish immigrants walking up and down the streets, shopping trolleys loaded with junked tat, or in one case, just a fridge. Modern England as sci-fi wasteland.

Footnote to the film: the two public information clips that bookend the video were culled from a DVD that included two messages from Jimmy Savile warning about the dangers of driving without a seatbelt and one from Rolf Harris teaching kids how to swim 'properly'.

BLACKLUNG's debut EP Continental Baths will be released June 26 via SWAYS Records. Austin Collings' new book The Myth Of Brilliant Summers is available from Pariah Press here