Ordinarily The xx put me to zz, but their new music video for “Islands” is eye-popping in its dance moves, cause for little Xs flitting around heads like little hearts.
And not dancing like “Single Ladies.” Or Rihanna’s “Rude Boy.” Or hell, I’ll just say it, Ciara’s new “Ride” (white hot ’90s neo-porn!). This classy, contained and borderline claustrophobic clip features a mesmerizing repeated pattern of the same six dancers doing the same moves with each stanza of the track. There’s very tiny variations in the pattern of which to speak, at least for a while. A facial expression will flicker in the periphery, a hand motion framing and re-framing the faces of xx’s singers with differing fervor. But then — just as love goes, le sigh!– the comfortable habits get broken up/break up. Stuff catches on fire. Someone leaves.
It’s morose and hypnotic, just like the band, the aural equivalent of a mumblecore movie. Here, it’s forgivable, in revealing plot and resolve in about three minutes. As non-singers singing to their strengths (see Naess, Leona), the xx finally have a solid music video to hook in more mass. The thing premiered on MTV, for crying out loud.
Saam Farahmand directed this video, and he’s helmed others for Simian Mobile Disco, the Klaxons and… Janet Jackson (????), plus fashion and commercial projects. He took a chance, on this single camera shot, done over and over, it’s like an inhale and exhale with each new take. Maybe you’ll run this over and over (and breathe in and out) too?
The xx are here on tour in the ‘States through Saturday, then they leave, then they’re back for summer fests, the what-have-you. “XX,” their sole album, came out last year.