These past few months have brought us two new music videos that showcase the difficulty of youth and nostalgia from bands with animal monikers. EELS, singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s constantly developing alternative project has released a video for “Mistakes Of My Youth,” off of the forthcoming album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett. This new record hones in on interiority and personal struggle, a good focus for a fairly inconsistent band. The lo-fi melody of “Mistakes” is nostalgic, steady, and bittersweet.
Uk indie quintet Foals’ take on adolescence, “Inhaler,” on the other hand, is rife with wild, passionate movement. Both of these bands seem to be looking back to the early 90s indie rock scene. While EELS’ does so with melancholia, Foals’ channels desperate rage.
The “Mistakes Of My Youth” video hones in on suburban rebellion. Beautiful shots of streets, parks, and backyards frame the world EELS’ youth lives in. He watches old black and white cartoons; he smokes and drinks under telephone lines amid grey skies; he rides his bike around restlessly, listlessly, reminiscing about his childhood with lyrics like “Look back down the road / I know that it’s not too late.” This narrator is attempting to recreate his younger days by “repeating yesterday,” though he knows this is impossible. Behaving wildly as he did when he was younger – graffiti, broken windows – won’t restore his youth. Meanwhile, the boy in the video also represents the invert. He behaves as an adult, smoking, drinking, making out with a girl, in an attempt break free of childhood’s confines, however his angst remains. This complicated juxtaposition captures the spirit of weary teenage rebellion.
Look out for EELS new album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everrett, coming out 4/22 on E Works/Pias.
“Inhaler” shows teenagers and Foals as discreet cohorts. A group of kids stand under a train trestle with hoodies, headphones, skateboards, and backpacks. Their rowdiness is palpable, resting just beneath the surface. The band is physically separate from them yet somehow still part of their delinquent resolve. Both groups cop a strong sense of rage and discontent, as if the sentiment itself is waiting to burst out, as opposed to EELS’ sense of emptiness. Here, the youth are full of temper, of resentment. Foals’ vocalist Yannis Philippakis yelps hoarsely and glances ominously at the camera. The body’s import to youth is part of the visual motif: they are attempting to find freedom that is outside of their physical selves and we see them strive for this through acts of physical defiance, through the pushing of physical limitations. Their sense of entrapment to the point of sickness is communicated throughout. Their confusion and rage pulls them together, unites them as a force of movement seeking escape.
Foals is currently on a spring tour with Cage The Elephant and will be making stops at Terminal 5 in NYC on 5/6 and 5/7.