Brooklyn’s Purmamarca self-released their debut album Summer Air // Night, via bandcamp in early 2014. Though it sounds far more lush and expansive, the LP was “recorded in bedrooms, kitchens, and basements on a USB microphone”. Yet the band upped the production value for the video that accompanies gorgeous single “Don’t Need Your Love.” The pace of the track is as deliberate as the video, shot in a former convent in one long take by director Lisa Boostani.
Actors Jessica Park and Scoop Slone look almost cartoon-like, their expressions either exaggerated or non-existent as they move through ambiguous spaces both physically and metaphorically. In an awkward dance sequence, they’re partnered but still feel like islands unto themselves, barely looking at one another or interacting save for their stifled movements. It’s hard to guess what happened to the duo in the past–is the man more invested than the woman? Did a usual lover’s quarrel turn things more sour than they’d been before? Has their time run out in a depressing and draining way? The man appears at turns hopeful, then stressed, splashing water on his face to calm or comfort himself. The woman’s gaze is unfocused and deadened throughout much of the video, though in the last few moments some hint of relief flickers across when she removes the wig she was wearing in one swift motion. It emphasizes the weird play-acting we find ourselves doing in relationships that are long past their prime; stripping oneself of all illusions, as the woman does in removing the wig, is the only way to combat it. It’s a sentiment echoed by the track’s resigned, codependent lyrics: “Don’t need your love to be happy / but to know myself.”
“Don’t Need Your Love” is atmospheric, pretty, and dark, making the dimly lit scenes, vague surrealism, and slow-moving actors fit the puzzle near perfectly. The robot-like mannerisms of the actors call into question the roles that love serves in our lives, and lyrics challenge our ideas of why we feel we need love as well as the delusions we create to hold onto it. Though it is unsettling at times, the clip highlights the essence of Purmamarca’s song with rare grace and subtle truth.