The video for “Sons & Lovers” tells the origin story of Boston-born band Black Light Dinner Party. It is not a happy one, but it is inextricably intertwined with the band’s upcoming debut album. “It is a piece of art based off the story of the first songs—why they happened,” says drummer Zach Lipkins.
Animated by Matthew Yarrington and produced by Dreambear, the celestial, kaleidoscopic graphics and lead singer Jack Côté‘s silky vocals soften the subject. They also make it more affecting. “The animation was a way to express the story without being completely literal—without having any one of us play a particular character in story,” synth player Dan Stevens tells us. “We wanted to do animation first and foremost for that song,” adds keyboardist Joel Friedman. “[Matthew Yarington] sort of picked the story out of us.”
Both the song and the album are named after D.H. Lawrence’s semi-autobiographical novel about his relationship with his mother. “That was something Jack had read,” Stevens explains. He saw a lot of similarities and congruencies between some of the subject matter and a lot of [our] early songs.”
Cloaked in catchy hooks, there is a melancholy underlying the songs on Sons & Lovers—but it is about the quartet’s past and not its future. “The whole record comes from a very specific time and place and idea,” Stevens insist. “Moving forward, we’re trying to represent where we are now.” Always writing, the band’s newer material is, according to Lipkins, “a little bit more fun and danceable.”
Now based in New York, the four men of Black Light Dinner Party have come a long way since we first discovered them in 2012. They have, of course, a vocal Internet following—but of established music critics as well as bedroom bloggers and recreational listeners. Though they have been compared to ’80s synth-rockers, they aren’t just another flicker and fade “throwback” band. As Lipkins notes, “[In the ’80s] they were discovering all of those cool, old synth drum machines: juno, things like that. Those are a lot of the production tools that we use and they are classy sounds—but I’d like to think we’re working within the frame of the current.”