Philosopher Alan Watts once advised, “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Such is the case for fans of Phosphorescent sideband Virgin Forest, whose new album VF3 (released last week) sounds radically different than previous albums. Unlike Joy Atrophy and Easy Way Out, which relied more on acoustic guitar, varying shades of folk rock, and lyrically-charged tracks, VF3 displays an evolution toward intricate and seductive electro pop, a creative shift that resulted from actual physical restrictions.
“For almost a year, I was in a cast,” says frontman Scott Stapleton. “I had to get two surgeries to fix my right wrist and it was during this time that I began in earnest the writing process of VF3.” Having severely injured his hand while on tour with Phosphorescent, Stapleton embraced musical exploration rather than allowing the handicap to induce creative stagnancy. “Because I wasn’t able to use both hands at the same time, I concentrated on simpler melodies. Luckily, I wanted this record to be a kind of pop record anyways.” This minimalist pop approach is clearly heard through the song “WIH,” which leverages electronic buzzing, wavering, extra-terrestrial-inspired synths, and elevating, shimmering percussion to form an emotively exhilarating piece lacking any notion of vocals. “To me personally, the song is rather euphoric and feels like a victory of sorts,” Stapleton continues. “It’s like the perfect soundtrack to drunkenly fall in love with someone.”
Premiering here on Interview, the music video for “WIH” begins with delicate lavender shaking in the wind, quickly leading up to what feels like a slightly destroyed, pictorial scrapbook of a couple’s memories while gallivanting around San Francisco. Obscure lights, which reflect from an abundance of disco balls and glimmering water, flash in and out as an array of imagery—ranging from poisonous frogs and jellyfish to tacky nightclubs and hushed suburbia—speeds into sight, creating a rapid-paced rollercoaster of visual ecstasy. Directed by Matthew Walker, the video embodies an urgent surge of memories. “In this case, it seems to be the memory of a lost weekend spent in San Francisco,” Stapleton explains. “The video focuses on a young couple exploring the beauty of both the city and the nature that surrounds it.” At certain points, cosmic swirls and extra-terrestrial shots of Earth contrast the comparatively miniscule romance unfolding on screen, perhaps implying that this nostalgic intimacy is nothing but a microscopic fragment of time and human relations, especially when paired with its implied gravitas.
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