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This Love by Bright Knights

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Reviewed on 3rd January 2012.


This Love

By Bright Knights

In this review I mention the video for this single a lot. I recommend you watch it before reading. It is viewable here: www.drawingthislove.com

This music lacks personality; there is little that can differentiate it from the deluge of other anodyne releases from guitar-operating pretentious indie bands.

It is differentiated slightly by the fact that the lyrics in this song are above average; at times evocative and thoughtful. Read the following (forgive any misquotation):

'When the birds fly home on the southern current,
'And the wind sweeps low to the sand on the beach,
'There's a girl, freezing cold just like this [something unintelligible],
'Tight-closed eyes and arms stretched out, trying to leave.'

The image of birds flying home on the southern current is quite imaginative. It's good yarn-spinning (a dying art) to include that short preamble before the main subject matter, i.e., the girl. The final line, 'arms stretched out, trying to leave', gives some thematic unity to that verse.

It's quite considered writing, but the image of the girl herself, on the beach, feeling feelings -- as womankind is wont to do -- is schmaltzy and startlingly unoriginal. The good lyrics are marred by banalities such as 'We've got stars in our eyes if we take to the skies in this weather', which ruins the aviation and escapism theme (that line does boast some pleasing vocal harmonies though) or 'Oh, kid, you know', which is simply condescending.

The song drones away (G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G, G, etc.) ad infinitum, with occasional Bs and F sharps and other guest appearances, but nothing exotic; no minor seconds or cluster chords here. That's not to say those would be especially welcome. A Golden Mean between those extremities would be, however. The bass line holds some melodic merit, and in fact is responsible for the majority of the harmonic interest. It is in fact more melodic than the vocal line and more rhythmically catchy than all the other parts, which makes it the focal point of the song, but I doubt that's what the band intended to do.

But -- and this is a big but - until now I've been talking about the music like it's not incidental. The video is the release's piece de resistance, its forte, its apparent raison d'etre; mais je pense que c'est un peu louche. D'accord, enough GCSE level French.

There are 2,158 frames in the video, each hand-coloured by over 1,000 fans. The result is pretty impressive, as is the artistry of Bright Knights's fan base -- I wonder if any submissions got rejected and if so, are the rejected fans feeling dejected?

It's a little unjust that all the work that goes into each frame is featured for less than a second. How did Bright Knights pitch this task to their fans?

'Minions, we want you to put time, effort and money into colouring two or three frames for our video. If we deem you worthy your work will receive the honour of being featured in said video for a microsecond. No payment.'

The reason I accuse the video of possibly being 'un peu louche' is partly because I don't know a better word in French to convey what I mean, but mostly because of the creepy undertone running throughout. In his animated form at least, the singer has a disconcerting lifelessness in his eyes; he comes across as not quite human, but something more unsettling -- possibly android.

What is far more worrying is the thought of the inordinate number of young teenage girls that printed off images of his face and devoted probably a few hours at least to poring over his inarguable dreaminess, lovingly rendering it with colour. One look at those drawings and it is clear which demographic the band appeals to and what portion of the population contributed to the video. Some of these love-struck nymphets added hearts, rainbows, stars, 'LOVE' and other detritus to the background. Seedier still, at times one can see the singer's shoulders; their apparent bareness suggests his torso isn't clothed. Why was he topless for the shoot?!

Of course some frames are delightful. My hat goes off to the individual who transformed the singer into Boba Fett. The hat remains off for he or she who put a crosshair over his face. It's refreshing to see humour trickling around the sides of the immovable fun-blockage that is the band's austere pretension, its preoccupation with its affected and unconvincing 'indie-poet' image.

To conclude, this song is essentially forgettable, though it has its moments of quality, and the video is an ingenious idea -- a triumph of collaboration and work-delegation -- but it is flawed, and in all honesty, morally questionable.



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