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"Our Knife Song" video by American Tomahawk is simple yet affecting

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If you haven't seen it yet, the new American Tomahawk video is good. Really good. But this news should come as no surprise to those who have been following Adam Halferty's various musical endeavors over the years. The dude is pretty much good at whatever he does, and he's instantly elevated every project he's been involved with, whether it was keeping time for and adding sublime harmonies to Young Coyotes or manning the drum kit for 3OH!3. The guy's musicality is admirable.

But it's with American Tomahawk, an act that captured our hearts upon first introduction, that he shines brightest. Most strikingly, on tracks like "1993," when he delivers harrowingly creepy lines about the "poor rotten soul with the forgotten name" making "men" of "little boys." When he sings lines like "Now you're touching the dog and smelling your hand and fucking your sister," he does so in a way that's not only manages to avoid coming off as obscene, but one that's poignant and almost empathetic, even in its indictment.

Dude's a masterful songwriter, and so, yeah, it comes as absolutely no surprise that the accompanying video for "Our Knife Song," directed by Cameron Beyl, is every bit as considered as the music itself. "A young man goes back to his dead father's cabin. He finds, amongst many things, a lost childhood memory" -- that's the brief description that accompanies the video on YouTube. And while that's indeed more or less what you see, like the music of American Tomahawk, the story itself is rather simple, but there's an underlying humanity -- particularly the scenes of the father scolding the boy for using his typewriter but then ultimately embracing him -- that is undeniably affecting and therefore relatable. Well done, sirs.

Catch American Tomahawk this Sunday, January 15, at the Ogden Theatre, with Fitz & the Tantrums and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


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