The song is underpinned by some nice nice nice crunchy guitar, with lovely pop melody over the top. The video doesn’t try to fight this, and the camera swooshes around the band performing the song with red and green stage lighting along with bits of blue and white. There’s also swirly lava lamp-like stuff, because lava lamps were cool in the 90s.
Also a relic of the 90s – Dave’s striped top, making him a perfect 90s indie pinup. The JPS lads have perfected the lingering camera glance. It’s as if to say, “Hey, girl. U know I’m in an indie band, but I always got time 4 u”.
The JPS Experience have previously gone for bigger concepts in their videos, but I think this simpler video is one of their strongest. When you have a great song, you don’t need to spice things up with exotic locations, lol props or bleeding edge digital effects.
This video’s concept is the lads mucking around on a beach. There’s a ukulele (future chic!), pool toys, hula hoops, leis and general whacky zany madcap beachwear – all accoutrements of ’90s ironic cool.
It’s also notable that the band do not lipsync to the song, so instead of an invented music video narrative of “We’re playing the song on the beach!”, it becomes “We’re doing weird dancing to this song on the beach!”, which is much crazier.
The action shifts to the sea for a while, and seems to pay homage to the pool scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not sure, but the think the tiki gods may have been displeased by the antics in this video.
Occasionally we see the beachside fun projected on a screen, as it it’s a home video of the JPS Experience’s fun day at the beach. This makes me wonder who the video of this screening is. Are the band sitting in a dark room, years later, watching the image of their former selves and thinking, “Those days were golden. Why’d we let them go?”
The internets have really come to the party with this one. Not only is the “Breathe” video on YouTube, but there’s also a making-of video. Director Matt Palmer talks about the process of making the film, and admits it was made with only $5000. Not that he’s bragging – the video should stand up on its own.
The video does look cheap, but not terrible. It takes the concept of breathing “cool, cool air” by contrasting an icy cold environment with flaming fire. The coldness looks to be replicated by smoke, rather than using an actual cold environment (Excessive? A few years later another band would do just that.) There’s also a bit of fancy layering of the visuals, but at its heart it’s a really basic music video. In fact, the tightly shot live band combined with the fire visuals remind me of Push Push’s “What My Baby Likes” vid.
But I like that even in 1992 people were taking music videos quite seriously. Oh, and the making-of reminds me of the older New Zealand term for music videos: film clips.
Best bit: white feathers start flying around the band for no apparent season.
The appearance of the JPS Experience marks the first Flying Nun band to get funding. The JPS Experience break out the green screen, which is fine, but they take things to the next level with silver foil. The band play the song in a series of rooms, each with a different special effect colour scheme. It’s all very psychedelic, with the crazy swirling outside, and resembles the cover of their 1993 album “Bleeding Star”.
This green screen malarky was newly affordable video technology, so it’s no surprise that it pops up all the time in music videos, but here it’s just overkill. It’s like they’re not quite confident enough in the song or their abilities on camera, so they’ve hidden behind an oil slick of green screen.
I’ve always thought of the JPS Experience as a manly band, but not blokey. Their songs weren’t just love songs, but seemed to be about the struggles of love and the modern male, and even floppy fringes and silver space suits work perfectly with that.
They’re all so young and beautiful, and the song is lovely. Unlike other bands in this funding round, there’s still plenty of love for the JPS Experience. A lot of fans consider them to be a band that should have been much more successful than they were, which adds a slightly bittersweet tang to the video.