The Denver electronica band’s new video for the song “Sick Meat” is an ever-evolving collage of colors, cutouts, shapes and haunting imagery. It's both tantalizing and disconcerting, as the band overtly matches its permeating fears for the world with a hazy dance-floor beat.
Directed by Lares Feliciano, the video is for the second release off Church Fire’s upcoming December EP Summer Camp Doom Diary and takes viewers on a visually overwhelming doomsday ride that comprises a series of animated images such as mushrooms tumbling down the screen, alarming flashing and glowing colors and shapes, Clorox bleach commercial loops, and a growing and shrinking fetus. It's essentially one big S.O.S. signal.
Bandmembers Shannon Webber and David Samuelson say in a statement, “While very different from what Church Fire has done in the past, Lares’s style naturally captures an old-timey floral aesthetic we’ve been really digging lately, which you’ll see more in the album art for Summer Camp Doom Diary (album art created by Rio Wolf).”
Feliciano manages to stay true to both her style and Church Fire's intentions for "Sick Meat." The Colorado-based director’s vision for the video came from sifting through images from archive.org and clippings from old magazines and books, and eventually leaning into her talent for deconstructing and reassembling familiar images to subvert their meaning.
“Every time we watch the video, another subtle element emerges that ties in perfectly with the lyrics and feel of ‘Sick Meat'" say the two musicians. "We didn't give her a lot of direction, but we sent her the lyrics and a little insight into what kinds of pervasive and insidious (mostly environmental) sickness inspired the song.
“She clearly spent a lot of time listening closely and letting it get under her skin," they continue. "She brought in so many neat images we never would have envisioned, which capture and even expand and shift the messages in the song. For us, the meaning of the song transforms a bit each time we watch the video, and it’s phenomenal to have someone else’s artistic experience and interaction with your art impact your own experience with it.”
The constant shifting of images and mood and meaning is an apt metaphor for Church Fire’s music. The group's songs often have conflict between the lyrics and the melodies, leaving it up to listeners to traverse the layers.
“Sick Meat” is no exception. The pairing of beats and choppy melodies with distressing lyrics [“How can we hold / When we can’t even drink the water?”] and visuals make for an adrenaline-filled trip of discomfort.
After being approached about letting Feliciano use a song of theirs for a project, Webber and Samuelson began to explore the director's catalogue.
“About a year ago, Piper Rose played matchmaker and asked us if Lares could use our song "Trash Time" in an animation for a Secret Love Collective installation in Breckenridge. We loved her final video, checked out a music video she made for Eros and the Eschaton, and found her work to be curious and beautiful.”
In keeping with the way that more and more artists are stretching out their release cycles by slowly trickling out singles, Church Fire intends to follow up the “Sick Meat” video with one for “Mechanical,” also a track off Summer Camp Doom Diary. While another video is sure to add even more momentum for the release, “Sick Meat” will linger in listeners' brains long after the track stops playing.
Día de Muertos, with Altas, Church Fire, Vic N' the Narwhals and Plume Varia, 9 p.m. Thursday, November 1, Syntax Physic Opera, 544 South Broadway.