The first warning came from YouTube uploader HEADLIKEAHOLENOISE who wrote “Great song with overdubbed sound effects which are way too loud which wrecks the track!” As the video started, it became obvious that someone had got a little carried away with the foley work. It’s a music video – the viewer doesn’t need to hear the flick of playing cards being dealt to get the idea that a tense game of poker is being played.
But it doesn’t stop with that. Something happens that probably required the entire contents of the production fridge to be abused in the name of sound effects. There are zombies.
It’s 2012. Zombies are now a pop culture relic of the late ’00s, along with ninjas and bacon. So while there’s part of me that rolls me eyes and feels like “Ugh, zombies, woteva”, I must recognise that in 1999, zombies weren’t so naff.
So, yeah, there’s a high-stakes poker game, with both money and body parts on the line. And meanwhile, the adjacent bar is full of zombies, including undead doppelgangers of the band. What follows is a sound riot of chainsaws, “braaaains”, moans, growls and other noises that actually manage to drown out the song most of the time.
It’s bewildering. The video looks good and has a fun, early Peter Jackson feel to it. But the torrent of sound effects are poorly done (they sound like sound effects, not natural sounds) and with no restraint. The song itself feels like a contractually obligated afterthought.
If you want to have some acting in a music video, take a break from the song, but never let the song be second to the video. An example of doing it right is what Joint Force got away with in their vid for “Static (Part 1)”.
HLAH disbanded in 2000 and their next funded video wasn’t until their reformation more than a decade later. Given that HLAH have been cranking out rather energetic, fun and entertaining videos since 1992, it’s sad that they ended with this mess. But there’s hope – it’s just waiting for someone to remix the video with the album track.
Best bit: Zombie Tom’s “Lesbian” t-shirt. Duuuude.
Next… smooth moves.