VIDEO REVIEW: ParkingLotGrass – Rainman

Ahem. I’ve been waiting for someone to say it, but it seems that I’ll have to do this myself and take the heat bravely. I am well aware of the shit storm that might follow.Before you get your panties in a twist, please bear in mind that this isn’t a mindless assault but positive criticism from a fan.

Is it me but does it feel like this video was underwhelming? Let me explain why. Aside from the release of In Oath’s single tri-infestation off their upcoming debut album, the video to PLG’s “Rainman” was the most anticipated event of 2014, and with good reason too. Rainman was the first song featuring vocals from its new front man. Secondly it featured the characteristic social critical element that this band is well known for in songs like Shimo Mfukoni and Speed Chaser. The song contained a harder edge to it and in more ways than one I felt that it was a rebirth of some sorts. When PLG announced that they’d be releasing a video I could not wait and I was always checking their website for new developments. Like the revolutionaries they are, they kept us updated with teasers and I was hoping, primarily on the strength of the information they kept churning out was that the video would be spectacular. There was some great build up to the release itself with the band even releasing a teaser trailer to the video. And when the video finally came I cant say that there was much that I can count as memorable.

But before I go all out on the bitching fest that this review really is, I’ll start off with a few things that are worth some praise. Number one is obviously because its a video which in itself is kind of a big deal. With the rock scene being what it is (a small and generally inactive sub-culture) you don’t get many music videos. And Id really like to applaud the band for the work they have done. Making a music video is an expensive, tiresome and engaging process. Secondly this is video is a nod to all players in the scene to support each other. I don’t know whether you noticed a Last Year’s Tragedy sticker on Alistair’s guitar? I thought that was an admirable gesture, securing time in the video to promote other bands. And why not. Last Year’s Tragedy are turning ten so they deserve such a node for being around for such a long time. Unlike events organizers who are busy measuring dicks and stabbing each other in the back, bands are showing support for one another. You will notice various bands at gigs who are there just to show solidarity with their contemporaries even though their not performing.

Having dealt with that let’s go ahead and examine the main reason that I felt this video could have been better. A similar example of a musical event that was characterized by great build up but left fans and critics dissatisfied was the release of Foo Fighters album Sonic Highways. Anthony Fantano while reviewing the album, pointed out that the record failed to capture the spirit of the build up that preceded it. If you have been following the events that preceded its release, you will remember that Dave Grohl prepared a documentary to support the album. In the said documentary he is seen touring various iconic recording studios where great records were made. Fantano notes that with the work that was done to support the record, the final product doesn’t exhibit the variety of musical richness that it should have considering that various studios were involved in this project. Get the drift? Now back to Rainman.

From the lyrics of “Rainman” there’s a story being told that should essentially have been visualized in the video. But as it progresses you sort of find yourself waiting for something that doesn’t eventually come to life. As if they are saying, we gave you the impression that we are going to do something breathtaking, and we can do that, but, yeah we don’t think we will. Not in this video!!!! In comparison to the video for “Speed Chaser” this video ranks higher up in quality. But it fails to address itself to the overall spirit of the song and its message. I’ll applaud them for taking a different route because this wasn’t a direct adaptation of the character spoken of in the song. But in the end apart from being different it was nothing more than a bunch of guys in suits, playing instruments and the band showcasing the new additions to its cast. I daresay at some point with the spinning cameras and cliched shots of the band members playing their instruments I almost felt they were ripping off Doveslimme’s video of Leo ni Leo. But that’s just me. Furthermore, I wasn’t impressed by the fact that the frontman seemed to be lip-syncing rather than actually singing which wasn’t helped by some not so stellar choreography. Some scenes in the video like the chocking scene at minute 1:54 the pieces of paper falling down with a confetiresque charm are fun to watch and break the monotony of the spinning and guitar playing. Aside from adding variety to the video, I find myself asking where they fit into the general scheme of things. They don’t really mean anything and the result is that they’re just random choreographical antics which is a shame because I feel they could have been used better to give this video a better outlook.

Despite my sentiments about the video I would recommend it for viewership. Please feel free to like the bands facebook page. You can also find them on twitter @ParkingLotGrass. Also visit their website for more information and to listen to their songs

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